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17  Bromfield  Street. 



Entered  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1873,  by 


In  the  Office  of  the  Librarian  of  Congress,  at  Washington. 

Three  hundred  copies  printed,  for  Subscribers  only. 

•  •  •    • 



The  materials  for  this  Memoir,  prepared  a  short 
time  since  for  the  "  Memorials  of  the  Massachusetts 
Society  of  the  Cincinnati,"  have  been  mainly  derived 
from  the  original  letters  and  papers  of  General  Knox. 
These  papers,  which  fill  fifty-six  large  portfolios, 
include,  besides  Knox's  own  letters  and  military 
papers,  many  of  the  letters  of  Washington  Greene, 
and  other  prominent  actors  in  the  Revolution  ?;nd  a 
variety  of  documents  illustrating  the  history  and  set- 
tlement of  that  part  of  Maine  included  in  the  Mus- 
congus  or  Waldo  patent.  About  the  year  1840  they 
were  placed  by  the  family  in  the  hands  of  Hon. 
Charles  S.  Daveis  of  Portland,  who  began,  but  did 
not  finish,  a  memoir  of  Knox  ;  and  in  1853  they  were 
transferred,  with  the  same  object,  to  Mr.  Joseph  Wil- 
lard  of  Boston,  a  gentleman  eminently  qualified  for 
the  task,  but  who  unfortunately  died  before  its  com- 
pletion. During  their  transit  by  water  from  Portland 
to  Boston,  the  vessel  in  which  they  were  embarked 
was  wrecked,  and  they  were  slightly  injured,  having 
been   for   some   hours   submerged.      They  are  now, 



however,  in  safe  keeping,  their  former  owner,  Ad- 
miral Henry  Knox  Thatcher,  U.S.N.,  grandson  of 
General  Knox,  having  recently  presented  them  to 
the  New-England  Historic  Genealogical  Society  of 

It  should  be  borne  in  mind,  in  reading  Knox's  let- 
ters, that  the  greater  part  of  them  exist  only  in  the 
origin al  rough  drafts,  and  hence  occasional  inaccura- 
cies and  ungrammatical  expressions  will  be  noticed, 
which  the  letters  themselves  would  probably  not 

The  author's  acknowledgments  are  due  to  Mr. 
David  G.  Haskins,  Jr.,  of  Cambridge,  to  whose  cour- 
tesy he  is  indebted  for  the  privilege  of  using  the 
materials  respecting  the  family  and  early  career  of 
Knox,  collected  by  his  grandfather,  Hon.  Charles 
S.  Daveis. 

October  1,  1873. 





/^VF  the  well-known  truth,  that  Revolutionary  epochs 
^^^  are  prolific  of  great  men  as  well  as  of  exalted  ideas, 
that  period  of  the  history  of  our  own  country  which  marks 
its  transition  from  a  state  of  colonial  dependence  to  that 
of  an  independent  nation  presents  a  striking  example. 
Prominent  in  the  remarkable  group  of  which  Washington 
forms  the  grand  central  figure,  and  second  to  none  in  the 
esteem,  the  confidence,  and  the  affection  of  that  illustrious 
man,  with  possibly  the  single  exception  of  La  Fayette, 
his  adopted  son ;  trusted  and  leaned  upon  by  him  as  a 
stanch  and  tried  support  in  moments  of  anxiety,  diffi- 
culty, and  danger;  sharing  with  him  in  every  conflict 
of  the  Revolution  in  which  that  great  leader  was  per- 
sonally engaged,  —  such  was  Henry  Knox,  who  rose  by 
the  simple  force  of  his  character  and  abilities  from  the 
condition  of  a  volunteer  to  the  highest  rank  in  the  army, 
that  of  major-general.  Placed  at  once  by  his  genius 
and  merit  at  the  head  of  an  important  branch  of  the 
military  service,  —  the  artillery, — he  discovered  powers 
admirably  suited  to  its  requirements,  and  which  cannot 
perhaps  be  better  shown  than  by  contrasting  the  feebleness 
and  inefficiency  of  that  arm  at  Bunker's  Hill  with  its  ter- 
rible efficacy  in  the  trenches  of  Yorktown. 

Inferior,  perhaps,  as  a  general  to  Greene,  between  whom 


and  himself  the  closest  ties  of  friendship  existed,  he  was 
happier  in  living  to  witness  the  benefits  conferred  by  their 
toils  and  sacrifices  in  the  establishment  of  a  constitutional 
government,  a  result  which,  as  the  head  of  the  war  depart- 
ment, he  was  indefatigable  in  his  efforts  to  bring  about; 
while  under  his  auspices  was  achieved  also  Wayne's 
memorable  victory  over  the  Indians,  which  gave  peace 
and  security  to  the  West,  and  opened  to  settlement  that 
immense  region  destined  to  be  the  centre  of  Western 

While  few  of  our  Revolutionary  patriots  are  more 
worthy  of  the  love  and  admiration  of  posterity,  there  are 
very  few  to  whose  memory  so  little  justice  has  been 
accorded.  None  engaged  in  the  noble  cause  of  freedom 
with  more  ardor  and  enthusiasm  ;  and  none  with  more 
entire  dedication  of  all  the  powers  of  body  and  mind,  both 
of  which  were  unusually  vigorous. 

The  paternal  ancestors  of  Knox  were  from  the  Low- 
lands of  Scotland,  a  place  bearing  that  name  being  found 
on  the  southern  border  of  the  Clyde,  within  the  barony 
of  Renfrew.  John  Knox,  the  great  reformer,  was  a  native 
of  the  neighboring  district  of  East  Lothian,  where  the 
name  is  still  numerous  and  respectable.  During  the  reign 
of  James  L,  many  Scotch  Presbyterians  settled  in  the  north 
of  Ireland,  whence  numbers  of  them  subsequently  emigrated 
to  America,  whose  descendants  were  conspicuous  in  the 
cause  of  liberty  during  the  Revolutionary  war.  In  the  year 
1729  some  of  these  emigrants  landed  in  Boston,  bringing 
with  them  their  pastor,  John  Morehead,  and  founded  in 
Bury  Street  a  religious  society,  which  was  the  origin  of  the 
Federal  Street  Church,  afterward  the  scene  of  the  labors  of 
the  eloquent  Channing.  It  is  remarkable  that  the  first  two 
names  found  on  the  baptismal  records  of  this  society,  of 
which  the  parents  of  Knox  were  members,  are   those    of 


Knox  and  Campbell.  The  tradition  in  the  family  of  Knox 
was  that  they  came  from  the  vicinity  of  Belfast,  Ireland, 
and  that  William,  his  father,  was  a  native  of  St.  Eustatia,  one 
of  the  West  Indies.  He  was  married  at  Boston,  on  Feb.  11, 
1735  (O.S.),  by  Rev.  Mr.  Morehead,  to  Mary,  daughter  of 
Robert  Campbell ;  was  a  ship-master,  and  the  owner  of  a 
wharf  and  a  small  estate  on  Sea  Street,  near  Summer, 


which  he  was  in  1756  compelled  by  misfortune  to  relin- 
quish, and  in  1759  went  to  St.  Eustatia,  where  he  died 
March  25,  1762,  aged  fifty  years.  His  widow,  Mary,  died 
in  Boston,  Dec.  14,  1771,  aged  fifty-three. 

Henry,  the  seventh  of  ten  sons,  of  whom  only  four 
attained  to  manhood,  was  born  July  25,  1750.  His  two 
elder  brothers,  John  and  Benjamin,  went  to  sea,  and  never 
returned,  but  were  believed  to  be  living  in  1769.  William, 
the  youngest,  born  in  1756,  some  time  consul  at  Dublin, 
was  afterward  a  clerk  in  the  employ  of  his  brother  while 
Secretary  of  War,  and  died  insane  about  the  vear  1797. 

10  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

The  house  in  which  Knox  was  born  is  still  standing,  and 
is  opposite  the  head  of  Drake's  Wharf,  on  Sea  Street.  It 
has  the  gambrel  roof  common  to  houses  of  that  period, 
and  was  once  surrounded  by  a  garden,  which  has  since 
given  place  to  dwellings.  Some  changes  have  taken  place 
in  it,  as  will  be  observed  upon  comparing  its  present  ap- 
pearance with  the  engraving,  which  is  copied  from  an  old 
drawing,  and  preserves  its  former  features.  At  present  a 
portion  of  the  old  house  is  covered  by  a  modern  structure  : 
the  doorway  has  been  altered,  and  a  low  wooden  building 
intervenes  between  it  and  the  street.  Here  the  family 
resided  until  1758. 

Losing  his  father  about  the  time  when  he  had  completed 
his  grammar-school  course,  young  Knox,  upon  whom  the 
care  of  his  widowed  mother  and  younger  brother  now 
devolved,  was  fortunate  in  being  employed  by  Messrs. 
Wharton  &  Bowes,  booksellers,  in  Cornhill.* 

The  excellent  Mr.  Nicholas  Bowes  supplied  the  place  of 
a  father  to  him,  keeping  a  strict  eye  upon  his  morals  and 
forming  him  in  early  life  to  habits  of  industry  and  regu- 
larity. Long  afterward  he  was  enabled  to  repay  a  portion 
of  his  debt  to  his  early  benefactor,  the  widow  of  Mr. 
Bowes  having  become  the  recipient  of  his  bounty.  Among 
the  many  estimable  traits  of  Knox's  character,  that  from 
which  in  after  life  he  derived  the  purest  satisfaction  was 
the  recollection  of  his  attentive  and  affectionate  solicitude 
for  his  widowed  mother. 

Possessing  an  inquisitive  mind  and  an  ardent  thirst  for 
knowledge,  Knox  was  not  slow  in  availing  himself  of  the 
advantages  around  him  for  its  acquisition,  and  thus  ob- 
tained a  knowledge  of  the   French  language  and  also  of 

*  In  1761  they  took  the  stock  and  stand  of  Daniel  Henchman,  situated  on 
the  south  corner  of  what  is  now  State  and  Washington  Streets.  Wharton 
died  about  1768 ;  Bowes,  in  1790. 


military  science,  for  which  he  early  developed  a  strong 
inclination.  He  was  also  fond  of  studying  the  illustri- 
ous examples  of  antiquit}r  in  the  pages  of  Plutarch,  and, 
as  Dr.  Eliot  tells  us,  "  gave  early  presages  of  future 

Of  a  robust  and  athletic  frame,  and  an  enterprising  and 
resolute  character,  he  was  foremost  in  the  contests  between 
the  North  and  South  Ends,  two  rival  sections  of  Boston,  to 
the  latter  of  which  he  belonged ;  and  it  is  related  that 
once,  during  the  celebration  of  Pope's  Night,  the  wheel  of 
the  carriage  which  sustained  the  cumbrous  pageant  having 
given  way,  Knox,  to  prevent  the  disgrace  sure  to  result 
from  its  non-appearance  and  the  consequent  triumph  of 
the  adverse  party,  substituted  his  own  shoulder  and  bore 
the  vehicle  without  interruption  through  the  conflict.* 

On  the  evening  of  the  affray  of  the  5th  of  March, 
1770,  which  took  place  in  King  Street,  known  as  "  The 
Boston  Massacre,"  Knox  endeavored  to  keep  the  crowd 
away  from  the  soldiers,  and  when  Captain  Preston  came 
upon  the  ground,  "  took  him  by  the  coat  and  told  him  for 
God's  sake  to  take  his  men  back  again,  for  if  they  fired 
his  life  must  answer  for  the  consequence ;  he  replied  he 
was  sensible  of  it,  and  seemed  in  great  haste  and  much 
agitated."  Knox  saw  nothing  to  justify  the  use  of  fire- 
arms, and  with  others  remonstrated  against  the  use  of 
them.  One  result  of  this  lamentable  affair  was  to  intensify 
the  hatred  of  the  citizens  toward  the  "  bloody  backs,"  as 

*  The  5th  of  November  was  set  apart  for  these  pageants,  which  are  thus 
described  :  An  effigy  of  the  Pope  and  another  of  the  Devil  were  borne 
through  the  streets  by  a  mock  procession,  and  finally  were  committed  to  the 
flames  amid  the  shouts  of  the  surrounding  multitude.  The  rival  processions 
always  encountered  one  another,  usually  in  or  about  Union  Street,  and 
engaged  in  a  pitched  battle,  ending  in  the  capture  of  one  of  the  popes  and 
the  rout  of  his  supporters,  the  rival  effigies  being  finally  made  a  bonfire  of. 
The  Revolution  put  an  end  to  these  displays. 

12  LIFE    OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

they  styled  the  red  coats,  two  regiments  of  whom  were 
upon  the  demand  of  the  people  removed  from  the  town 
to  the  castle. 

Having  attained  the  age  of  twenty-one,  Knox  quitted 
his  employer  and  began  business  on  his  own  account. 
From  Edes  and  Gill's  "  Gazette  "  of  July  29,  1771,  we 
take  the  following :  "  This  day  is  opened  a  new  Lon- 
don Bookstore  by  Henry  Knox,  opposite  Williams'  Court 
in  Cornhill,  Boston,  who  has  just  imported  in  the  last 
ships  from  London  a  large  and  very  elegant  assortment 
of  the  most  modern  books  in  all  branches  of  Literature, 
Arts,  and  Sciences,  (catalogues  of  which  will  be  pub- 
lished soon,)  and  to  be  sold  as  cheap  as  can  be  bought 
at  any  place  in  town.  Also  a  complete  assortment  of 

"  Knox's  Store,"  says  General  Henry  Burbeck,  a  con- 
temporary, "  was  a  great  resort  for  the  British  officers  and 
Tory  ladies,  who  were  the  ton  at  that  period,"  and  Harrison 
Gray  Otis  long  afterward  described  it  as  "  one  of  great 
display  and  attraction  for  young  and  old,  and  a  fashion- 
able morning  lounge."  Intelligent,  amiable,  and  patriotic, 
he  was  a  general  favorite,  and  seemed  in  a  fair  way  to 
become  a  prosperous  merchant.  The  gathering  storm  of 
the  Revolution,  however,  loomed  dark  and  threatening  in 
the  sky ;  and  ere  long  the  Boston  Port  Bill,  which  put  a 
sudden  stop  to  the  prosperity  of  the  town,  involved  also 
that  of  our  young  bookseller. 

One  of  Knox's  business  correspondents  was  James 
Rivington,  the  Tory  bookseller  and  editor  of  New  York, 
who  sent  him  (28  July,  1774)  five  chests  of  tea,  which  he 
understands  is  very  scarce  in  Boston,  and  begs  him  "  to 
put  them  into  such  hands  in  the  deepest  confidence  [this 
tea  had  paid  no  duty,  hence  the  injunction  of  secrecy], 
as  may  be  able  to  complete  the  sale  of  them  as  soon  as 


convenient."     Knox  declined  the  commission,  and  in  Sep- 
tember Rivington  orders  its  delivery  to  a  Mr.  Palfrey. 

Rivington,  having  sent  him  three  hundred  "  Other  Side 
the  Question"  (an  answer  to  the  "  Friendly  Address  "), 
under  date  of  1  Dec.  1774,  writes  thus  :  — 

"  '  The  Friendly  Address'  I  do  not  send  to  you,  for  fear  of  hurting 
your  interest:  it  was  forwarded  to  Messrs.  Mills  &  Hicks  to  be 
printed.  My  reasons  for  not  troubling  you  with  these  very  warm, 
high-seasoned  pamphlets  is  that  your  very  numerous  friends  on  the 
patriot  interest  may  be  greatly  disgusted  at  your  distributing  them ; 
but  if  you  are  not  so  very  nice,  as  I  supposed,  from  the  state  of  your 
interest,  &c,  and  are  willing  to  have  these  sort  of  articles,  I  will 
secure  them  for  you  from  time  to  time.  Pray  explain  yourself  on 
this  head  directly,  for  I  mean  to  show  every  expression  of  my 
attention  to  you." 

As  Knox  was  thoroughly  identified  with  the  ardent  sons 
of  liberty,  we  can  easily  imagine  his  reply. 

His  first  purchase  of  books  of  Thomas  Longman  and 
Sons  of  London,  dated  22  April,  1771,  amounted  to  .£340, 
and  up  to  December,  1772,  they  had  reached  a  total  of 
.£2,066.  After  this  there  was  a  great  falling  off  from 
political  causes,  concerning  which  he  writes  Longman  in 
November,  1774,  as  follows  :  — 

"Sir,  —  I  have  received  yours  per  Captain  Callahan,  and  the 
books  in  good  order,  also  the  magazines  to  August  inclusive.  I  am 
sorry  it  is  not  in  my  power  to  make  you  remittance  per  this  oppor- 
tunity, but  shall  do  it  very  soon.  This  whole  continent  have  entered 
into  a  general  non-importation  agreement  until  the  late  acts  of  par- 
liament respecting  this  government,  &c,  are  repealed,  which  will 
prevent  my  sending  any  orders  for  books  until  this  most  desirable 
end  is  accomplished.  I  cannot  but  hope  every  person  who  is  con- 
cerned in  American  trade  will  most  strenuously  exert  themselves, 
in  their  respective  stations,  for  what  so  nearly  concerns  themselves. 
I  had  the  fairest  prospect  of  entirely  balancing  our  account  this  fall ; 



but  the  almost  total  stagnation  of  trade,  in  consequence  of  the  Boston 
Port  Bill,  has  been  the  sole  means  of  preventing  it,  and  now  the 
non-consumption  agreement  will  stop  that  small  circulation  of  busi- 
ness left  by  the  Boston  Port  Bill.  I  mean  the  internal  business 
of  the  province.  It  must  be  the  wish  of  every  good  man  that 
these  unhappy  differences  between  Great  Britain  and  the  Colonies 
be  speedily  and  finally  adjusted.  The  influence  that  the  unlucky 
and  unhappy  mood  of  politics  of  the  times  has  upon  trade  is  my  only 
excuse  for  writing  concerning  them.  The  magazines  and  new  pub- 
lications concerning  the  American  dispute  are  the  only  things  which 
I  desire  you  to  send  at  present." 

During  the  occupancy  of  the  town  by  the  British,  and 
while  Knox  was  with  the  besieging  army,  his  store,  with 
many  others,  was  robbed  and  pillaged ;  and  though  long 
after  the  war  he  honorably  paid  Longman  a  portion  of  his 
debt,  yet,  owing  to  grave  financial  embarrassments,  a  part 
remained  unsettled  at  his  decease.  Upon  making  this  last 
payment  of  11,000  guilders  (about  £1,000),  Knox,  under 
date  of  15  Dec.  1798,  writes  thus :  — 

"  It  is  but  justice  to  myself  to  say,  that  while  I  experience  the 
strongest  sensations  of  gratitude  for  your  forbearance  and  liberality, 
that  it  is  with  extreme  inconvenience  that  I  pay  so  heavy  an  arrear 
for  property  destroyed  by  events  which  I  could  no  more  control  than 
I  could  the  great  operations  of  nature,  [nor]  am  I  more  responsible 
for  them :  I  mean  the  war.  In  paying  you,  I  feel  inclination  and 
duty  blended  together.  Had  my  pecuniary  situation  admitted  of 
the  measure,  you  should  long  ago  have  received  the  amount  due." 

At  the  age  of  eighteen,  Knox,  in  obedience  to  a  strong 
natural  bent,  joined  a  military  company  ;  and  when  the 
"  Boston  Grenadier  Corps  "  was  formed  by  Captain  Joseph 
Peirce,  he  was  one  of  its  founders  and  was  second  in 
command.  The  splendid  uniform,  military  appearance, 
drill  and  efficiency  of  this  corps,  which  made  its  first 
parade  June  8,  1772,  under  Captain  Peirce,  gave  it 
high  renown,  and  elicited  the  warm  encomiums  even  of 


the  British  officers.  Its  members,  Knox  included,  had 
volunteered  as  a  guard  over  the  tea  ships ;  and  Governor 
Gage  had  been  struck  by  their  martial  bearing  on  the 
occasion  of  his  public  entry  into  Boston  in  May,  1774. 
Knox  was  aided  in  drilling  and  disciplining  the  corps  by 
its  orderly  sergeant,  Lemuel  Trescott,  afterward  a  major, 
and  one  of  the  best  officers  in  the  Continental  Army ;  and 
each  man  was  from  five  feet  ten  to  six  feet  in  height.  By 
conversing  with  the  British  officers  who  frequented  his 
bookstore,  by  earnest  study  of  military  authors  and  by 
careful  observation  of  the  soldiery  in  Boston,  he  soon 
attained  great  proficiency  in  the  theory  and  practice  of 
the  military  art. 

While  on  a  gunning  excursion  among  the  islands  in 
Boston  harbor  (24  July,  1773),  he  lost,  by  the  bursting  of 
his  fowling-piece,  the  two  smaller  fingers  of  his  left  hand, 
a  defect  he  was  accustomed  to  cover  up  by  the  folds  of  a 
handkerchief,  and  which,  in  Stuart's  half-length  portrait  in 
Faneuil  Hall,  is  skilfully  concealed  by  resting  the  hand  on 
a  cannon.* 

It  was  about  a  month  after  this  occurrence  that  Knox, 
who  was  an  uncommonly  good-looking  officer,  and  pos- 
sessed also  a  fine  military  bearing,  attracted  the  attention 
of  his  future  wife.  This  is  related,  on  the  authority  of 
General  Burbeck,  as  having  taken  place  "  at  the  next  par- 
ade of  the  corps,  when  Lieutenant  Knox  appeared  with  the 
wound  handsomely  bandaged  with  a  scarf,  which  of  course 

*  Other  portraits  of  Knox  are  that  by  C.  W.  Peale  and  the  one  by- 
Edward  Savage,  from  which  the  engraving  accompanying  this  volume  is 
taken.  Concerning  this  picture,.  Savage  writes  to  Knox  from  London,  Jan. 
22,   1792:  — 

"  Agreeable  to  your  request,  I  have  sent  by  Mr.  West  the  half-dozen 
prints  from  the  original  portrait  which  you  did  me  the  honor  to  sit  for.  .  .  . 
I  was  much  flattered  by  Mr.  West,  historical  painter  to  his  Majesty,  as  he 
knew  it  to  be  my  first  performance  on  copper,  and  without  any  assistance. 

"  No.  29  Charles  Street,  Middlesex  Hospital.'- 


excited  the  sympathy  of  all  the  ladies."  The  good  im- 
pression thus  made  was  improved  by  the  young  lady's 
visits  to  his  bookstore,  and  an  acquaintance  soon  sprung 
up,  which  ripened  into  mutual  love  and  esteem,  and 
resulted  in  a  true  and  happy  union.*  Her  father,  Thomas 
Flucker,  Esq.,  "  a  high-toned  loyalist,  of  great  family  pre- 
tensions," and  Secretary  of  the  Province  of  Massachusetts 
Bay,  was  exceedingly  averse  to  the  match,  as  indeed  were 
all  of  the  young  lady's  aristocratic  connections,  who  were 
Tories,  while  Knox's  sympathies  were,  as  was  well  known, 
strongly  enlisted  in  behalf  of  his  countrymen.  Indeed, 
the  match  is  said  to  have  wanted  little  of  an  elopement  on 
this  account,  her  friends  regarding  her  social  prospects  as 
ruined  by  her  wedding  one  who  had  embraced  the  rebel 

The  consequences  were  depicted  to  her  in  lively  colors, 
and  without  any  softening  of  the  shades.  She  was  told 
that,  while  her  sisters  were  riding  in  their  coaches,  she 
would  be  eating  the  bread  of  poverty  and  dependence  ; 
that  there  could  be  but  one  issue  to  the  conflict ;  and  that 
the  power  of  Great  Britain  was  overwhelming.  Disre- 
garding all  these  well-meant  warnings,  the  young  lady, 
who  had  fully  adopted  the  views  and  feelings  of  her  future 
husband,  resolved  to  follow  the  fortunes  of  him  to  whom 
her  heart  had  been  given.  Here  is  a  brief  glimpse  of 
their  courtship  :  — 


"  Monday  Evening,  March  7,  1774. 
"  What  news  ?     Have  you  spoken  to  your  father,  or  he  to  you, 
upon  the  subject  ?     What  appearance  has  this  [to  us]  grand  affair 

*  Mr.  Otis,  whom  we  have  before  quoted,  says  :  "  Miss  Flucker  was  dis- 
tinguished as  a  young  lady  of  high  intellectual  endowments,  very  fond  of 
books,  and  especially  the  books  sold  by  Knox,  to  whose  shelves  she  had 
frequent  recourse." 


at  your  house  at  present  ?  Do  you  go  to  the  ball  to-morrow  evening  ? 
I  am  in  a  state  of  anxiety  heretofore  unknown.  I  wish  the  medium 
of  our  correspondence  settled,  in  order  to  which  I  must  endeavor 
to  see  you,  when  we  will  settle  it." 

Love,  as  usual,  triumphed  over  all  obstacles  ;  and  in  the 
"  Gazette  "  of  June  20,  1774,  the  marriage  was  thus  an- 
nounced :  — 

"Last  Thursday  (the  16th),  was  married,  by  the  Rev.  Dr.  Caner, 
Mr.  Henry  Knox  of  this  town,  to  Miss  Lucy  Flucker,  second  daughter 
to  the  Hon.  Thomas  Flucker,  Esq.,  Secretary  of  the  Province." 

The  young  couple  at  once  commenced  housekeeping, 
but  their  domestic  enjoyments  were  seriously  interrupted 
by  the  events  of  the  19th  of  April,  1775 ;  and  just  one 
year  from  the  day  of  his  marriage  Knox  quitted  Boston 
in  disguise  (his  departure  having  been  interdicted  by 
Gage),  accompanied  by  his  wife,  who  had  quilted  into  the 
lining  of  her  cloak  the  sword  with  which  her  husband  was 
to  carve  out  a  successful  military  career.  Large  promises 
had  been  held  out  to  Knox  to  induce  him  to  follow  the  royal 
standard,  as  it  was  thought  of  consequence  to  prevent  so 
talented  a  young  man  from  attaching  himself  to  the  pro- 
vincials ;  but  his  patriotism  was  as  sincere  as  it  was  ardent, 
and  he  did  not  for  a  moment  hesitate,  but  embarked  heart 
and  hand  in  the  patriot  cause. 

Repairing  at  once  to  the  head-quarters  of  General  Ward 
at  Cambridge,  he  was  actively  engaged  in  reconnoitring 
service  on  the  memorable  17th  of  June,  and  upon  his 
reports  the  general's  orders  were  issued.  After  the  battle, 
his  wife  having  been  safely  bestowed  at  Worcester,  Knox, 
while  declining  any  particular  commission,  lent  his  aid  in 
planning  and  constructing  works  of  defence  for  the  various 
camps  around  the  beleaguered  town,  at  the  same  time 
acquiring  skill  as  an  artillerist,  and  was  thus  occupied  for 


some  months.  In  this  employment,  the  comparative  profi- 
ciency he  had  acquired,  by  seizing  every  chance  occasion 
for  mastering  that  branch  of  military  science,  was  of  sen- 
sible service  to  his  country,  then  greatly  in  need  of  skilled 
engineers  ;  and  it  also  proved  the  stepping-stone  to  his 
future  distinction.  The  chief  work  constructed  by  him 
was  the  strong  redoubt  crowning  the  hill  in  Roxbury, 
known  as  Roxbury  Fort,  the  site  of  which  is  now  covered 
by  the  Cochituate  Stand  Pipe.  A  few  extracts  from  his 
letters  to  his  wife  and  to  his  brother  during  the  siege  are 
here  given,  from  the  first  of  which  it  appears  that  his 
skill  and  activity  had  attracted  the  notice  of  Washington 
only  three  days  after  he  had  taken  the  command  of  the 
army :  — 

"  Roxbury  (Lemuel  Childs's), 
"  Thursday  Morning,  6  o'clock  (July  6,  1775). 

"  Yesterday,  as  I  was  going  to  Cambridge,  I  met  the  generals 
[Washington  and  Lee],  who  begged  me  to  return  to  Roxbury  again, 
which  I  did.  When  they  had  viewed  the  works,  they  expressed  the 
greatest  pleasure  and  surprise  at  their  situation  and  apparent  utility, 
to  say  nothing  of  the  plan,  which  did  not  escape  their  praise." 

"  Watertown,  July  9. 

"  General  Washington  fills  his  place  with  vast  ease  and  dignity, 
and  dispenses  happiness  around  him.  General  Lee  will  become 
very  popular  soon.  I  am  obliged  to  go  to  Cambridge  to  wait  on 
General  Washington,  and  promised  to  be  there  by  seven  o'clock.  I 
am  now  half  past  that  time." 

"Monday,  July  11. 

"  I  go  to  Roxbury  and  Cambridge  in  the  morning,  and  return 
here  every  evening  for  the  sake  of  Mr.  Jackson's  company.  We 
are  here  in  a  very  decent  private  house,  —  Mr.  Cook's,  near  the 
bridge.  .  .  .  You  heard,  I  suppose,  by  our  neighbor  Curtis  that  our 
people  burnt  Brown's  houses  on  Boston  Neck,  except  the  store  ?  It 
was  a  brave  action,  and  well  performed.  The  regulars  were  in 
such  trepidation  in  Boston  and  on  the  lines  that  I  perfectly  believe 
750  men  would  at  that  time  [have]  taken  the  full  possession  of  the 


town.  The  new  generals  are  of  infinite  service  in  the  army.  They 
have  to  reduce  order  almost  from  a  perfect  chaos.  I  think  they  are 
in  a  fair  way  of  doing  it.  Our  army  still  '  affect  to  hold  the  army 
besieged,'*  and  will  effectually  continue  to  do  so." 

"  August  9,  1775 
"(General  Thomas's  Head-quarters,  Roxbury). 

"  I  was  yesterday  at  Cambridge.  Generals  Washington  and  Lee 
inquired  after  you.  I  dined  at  General  "VV.'s.  While  I  was  there, 
the  navy  prisoners  whom  I  wrote  to  you  about  yesterday  came  there 
on- horses.  There  were  seven;  viz..  one  lieutenant,  t  one  doctor,  one 
master,  and  four  midshipmen,  —  all  handsome,  genteel-looking  men. 
The  officers  were  disposed  of  genteelly  for  the  present,  and  are  soon 
to  be  sent  into  the  country." 

To  his  brother  William,  25  Sept.  1775  :  — 

"  Last  Friday  Lucy  [Mrs.  Knox]  dined  at  General  Washington's. 
Last  Saturday,  let  it  be  remembered  to  the  honor  and  skill  of  the 
British  troops,  that  they  fired  104  cannon-shot  at  [our]  works,  at 
not  a  greater  distance  than  half  point  blank  shot,  —  and  did  what  ? 
Why,  scratched  a  man's  face  with  the  splinters  of  a  rail-fence !  I 
have  had  the  pleasure  of  dodging  these  heretofore  engines  of  terror 
with  great  success;  nor  am  I  afraid  they  will  [hit  me?],  unless 
directed  by  the  hand  of  Providence." 

On  page  eighty-six  of  John  Adams's  autobiography,  he 
says :  "  Colonel  Knox  had  been  a  youth  who  had  attracted 
my  notice  by  his  pleasing  manners  and  inquisitive  turn  of 
mind,  when  I  was  a  man  in  business  in  Boston ;  "  and  on 
the  same  day  (Oct.  1,  1776)  he  writes  to  Knox,  request- 
ing his  sentiments  upon  a  plan  for  the  establishment  of  a 
military  academy  in  the  army.     The  following  letter,  writ- 

*  A  phrase  in  Gage's  irate  proclamation  of  June  12,  which  caused  much 
merriment  in  the  American  camp. 

t  John  Knight,  afterward  an  admiral.  They  were  taken  at  Machias  ; 
and  the  question  as  to  the  treatment  to  be  accorded  them  led  to  the  memo- 
rable correspondence  upon  the  subject  between  Washington  and  the  British 
commander,  Gage. 


ten  while  in  attendance  upon  Congress,  still  further  evinces 
Mr.  Adams's  appreciation  of  him  :  — 


"Philadelphia,  Nov.  11,  1775. 

"  I  had  the  pleasure  of  a  letter  from  you  a  few  days  ago,  and  was 
rejoiced  to  learn  that  you  have  at  last  determined  to  take  a  more 
important  share  than  you  have  done  hitherto  in  the  conduct  of  our 
military  matters.  I  have  been  impressed  with  an  opinion  of  your 
knowledge  and  abilities  in  the  military  way  for  several  years,  and  of 
late  have  endeavored,  both  at  camp,  at  Watertown,  and  at  Phila- 
delphia, by  mentioning  your  name  and  character,  to  make  you  more 
known,  and  consequently  in  a  better  way  for  promotion. 

"  It  was  a  sincere  opinion  of  your  merit  and  qualifications  which 
prompted  me  to  act  this  part,  and  therefore  I  am  very  happy  to  be 
able  to  inform  you  that  I  believe  you  will  very  soon  be  provided  for 
according  to  your  wishes ;  at  least  you  may  depend  upon  this,  that 
nothing  in  my  power  shall  be  wanting  to  effect  it.  It  is  of  vast 
importance,  my  dear  sir,  that  1  should  be  minutely  informed  of  every 
thing  which  passes  at  the  camp  while  I  hold  a  place  in  the  great 
Council  of  America ;  and  therefore  I  must  beg  the  favor  of  you  to 
write  me  as  often  as  you  can  by  safe  conveyances.  I  want  to  know 
the  name,  rank,  and  character  of  every  officer  in  the  army,  —  I 
mean  every  honest  and  able  one ;  but  more  especially  of  every 
officer  who  is  best  acquainted  with  the  theory  and  practice  of  forti- 
fication and  gunnery.  What  is  comprehended  within  the  term 
Engineer  ?  and  whether  it  includes  skill  both  in  fortifications  and 
gunnery ;  and  what  skilful  engineers  you  have  in  the  army ;  and 
whether  any  of  them,  and  who,  have  seen  service,  and  when  and 

"  I  want  to  know  if  there  is  a  complete  set  of  books  upon  the 
military  art  in  all  its  branches  in  the  library  of  Harvard  College, 
and  what  books  are  the  best  upon  those  subjects." 

On  Nov.  2,  Washington  writes  to  Governor  Trumbull 
respecting  the  want  of  competent  engineers,  and  says : 
"  Most  of  the  works  which  have  been  thrown  up  for  the 
defence  of  our  several  encampments   have  been  planned 


by  a  few  of  the  principal  officers  of  the  army,  assisted  by 
Mr.  Knox,  a  gentleman  of  Worcester." 

And  to  the  President  of  Congress  on  the  8th  of  the 
same  month :  — 

"The  council  of  officers  are  unanimously  of  opinion  that  the  com- 
mand of  the  artillery  should  no  longer  continue  in  Colonel  Gridley ; 
and  knowing  of  no  person  better  qualified  to  supply  his  place,  or 
whose  appointment  will  give  more  general  satisfaction,  I  have  taken 
the  liberty  of  recommending  Henry  Knox  to  the  consideration  of 

Gridley,  a  veteran  of  the  French  war,  was  incapacitated 
by  age  and  infirmity  for  active  service ;  and  the  next  in 
rank,  David  Mason,  offered  to  serve  as  lieutenant-colonel 
of  the  artillery  regiment  if  Knox  might  be  appointed 
colonel.  There  were  a  number  of  young  officers  of  merit 
in  that  branch,*  but  they  joined  unanimously  in  making 
this  request ;  and  he  was  accordingly  commissioned  by 
Congress  colonel  of  the  artillery  regiment  on  Nov.  17, 
1775.  His  commission  did  not  reach  him,  however,  until 
after  his  return  from  Ticonderoga.f 

The  want  of  heavy  ordnance,  with  which  to  drive  the 

*  Many  of  these  officers,  among  whom  were  John  Crane,  Ebenezer  Stevens, 
Winthrop  Sargent,  and  others,  who  became  distinguished,  were  trained  in 
Paddock's  artillery  company,  formed  in  1763  by  David  Mason.  Paddock, 
who  succeeded  him  in  the  command  in  1768,  brought  it  to  a  high  state  of 
efficiency ;  but  being  a  Tory  left  Boston  with  the  British  troops,  and  died  in 
the  Isle  of  Jersey,  25  March,  1801,  aged  seventy-six. 

t  It  seems  not  a  little  singular  that  one  who  had  never  been  even  a  private 
of  artillery,  nor  had  the  advantages  of  a  military  school,  should  have  been 
selected  for  the  eminently  practical  role  of  chief  of  artillery  of  the  army.  His 
fitness  for  the  position  was,  however,  conceded  at  once  and  without  question, 
and  was  afterward  abundantly  manifested. 

A  return  of  the  artillery  regiment,  consisting  of  twelve  companies,  dated 
3  March,  1776,  gives  635  men.  The  field-officers  were  —  Henry  Knox, 
colonel;  William  Burbeck,  first  lieutenant-colonel;  David  Mason,  second 
lieutenant-colonel;    John  Crane,  first  major;  John  Lamb,  second  major. 



enemy  from  Boston,  was  felt  to  be  one  of  serious  concern ; 
and  to  the  enterprising  and  fertile  mind  of  Knox  belongs 
the  credit  of  having  conceived  and  successfully  executed 
a  project  by  which  the  besieging  army  was  supplied  with 
the  means  for  effecting  that  important  object.  This  plan, 
which  was  approved  by  Washington,  was  to  procure  from 
Fort  Ticonderoga  the  needed  cannon  and  stores,  and  to 
transport  them  on  boats  and  sleds  to  the  camp  at  Cam- 

Armed  with  the  necessary  instructions  from  the  com- 
mander-in-chief, and  accompanied  by  his  younger  brother, 
William,  then  nineteen  years  of  age,  and  who  was  of  great 
service  to  him  in  this  enterprise,  Knox  left  the  camp  at 
Cambridge  on  Nov.  15,  and,  after  a  brief  visit  to  his  wife 
at  Worcester,  reached  New  York  on  the  25th.  After 
transacting  his  business  there,  he  started  northward  on  the 
28th,  "glad,"  as  he  writes  in  his  diary,  "to  leave  New 
York,  it  being  very  expensive."  He  reached  Albany  Dec. 
1,  and  Ticonderoga  on  the  5th.  From  this  place  he  began 
his  laborious  and  difficult  journey  homeward  on  the  9th, 
having  put  on  board  some  small  craft,  such  ordnance  and 
stores  as  were  essential  and  could  be  safely  transported. 
He  was  assisted  in  his  arduous  labors  by  General  Schuyler, 
and  after  undergoing  much  hardship  and  suffering,  and 
encountering  numerous  obstacles  as  well  as  the  annoy- 
ances and  vexations  incident  to  so  hazardous  an  enter- 
prise in  the  midst  of  a  severe  winter,  he  finally  had  the 
satisfaction  of  reaching  camp  on  Jan.  24,  1776,  and  of 
receiving  the  congratulations  of  the  commander-in-chief 
upon  the  important  service  he  had  thus  rendered  the  army 
and  the  country.  While  crossing  the  Hudson  on  the  ice, 
one  of  the  cannon  fell  into  the  river  near  the  landing.  It 
was  recovered  on  the  following  day,  with  the  assistance  of 
the  people  of  Albany,  in  return  for  which  service  Knox 
christened  her  "  The  Albany." 


This  achievement  stamped  the  character  of  Knox  for 
boldness,  enterprise,  fertility  of  resource  and  genius,  sup- 
plied the  means  for  fortifying  Dorchester  Heights,  and  vin- 
dicated the  judgment  of  Washington  in  selecting  him  for 
the  important  and  responsible  duties  of  the  artillery  and 
ordnance  departments.* 

A  memorable  incident  of  this  journey  was  his  encounter 
with  the  gallant  but  unfortunate  Andre.     The  latter,  who 
had  been  taken  prisoner  by  Montgomery  at  St.  John's, 
was  on  his  way  to  Lancaster,  Pa.,  to  remain  there  until 
exchanged,  while  Knox  was  pursuing  his  way  northward. 
Chance  made  them  one  stormy  winter  night  inmates  of  the 
same  cabin  on  the  border  of  Lake  George,  and  even  of  the 
same  bed.     Though  of  opposite  political  attachments,  they 
had  much  in  common.     Their  ages  were  alike  ;  each  had 
given  up  the  pursuits  of  trade  for  the  military  profession, 
of  which  each  had  made  a  study ;  and  their  tastes  and  aims 
were   similar.     They  parted  on  the  morrow  with  strong 
mutual  sentiments  of  regard  and  good-will,  and  their  inter- 
view left  an  indelible  impression  on  the  mind   of  Knox. 
The   respective  condition  of  the  two  was   not  mutually 
made  known  until  just  as  they  were  about  to  part ;  and 
when  Knox,  a  few  years  later,  was  called  on  to  perform 
the  painful  office  of  a  judge  upon  that  tribunal  which  con- 
demned Andre  to  death,  the  memory  of  their  meeting  gave 
additional  bitterness  to  that  unpleasant  duty. 

To  Washington  he  wrote  on  Nov.  27,  from  New  York, 
earnestly  recommending  that  cannon  for  the  army  be  cast 
there,  "where  it  can  be  expeditiously  and  cheaply  done." 

*  "For  expenditures  in  a  journey  from  the  camp  round  Boston  to  New. 
York,  Albany,  and  Ticonderoga,  and  from  thence,  with  55  pieces  of  iron  and 
brass  ordnance,  1  barrel  of  flints,  and  23  boxes  of  lead,  back  to  camp  (includ- 
ing expenses  of  self,  brother,  and  servant),  £520.15.8f."  —  Knox's  Account- 
book.     (For  schedule  of  cannon,  &c,  see  Appendix.) 

24  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

And  on  Dec.  17,  from  Fort  George :  — 

"I  returned  to  this  place  on  the  loth,  and  brought  with  me  the 
cannon,  it  being  nearly  the  time  I  computed  it  would  take  us  to 
transport  them  here.  It  is  not  easy  to  conceive  the  difficulties  we 
have  had  in  getting  them  over  the  lake,  owing  to  the  advanced 
season  of  the  year  and  contrary  winds  ;  but  the  danger  is  now  past. 
Three  days  ago  it  was  very  uncertain  whether  we  should  have 
gotten  them  until  next  spring;  but  now,  please  God,  they  must  go. 
I  have  had  made  42  exceeding'  strong  sleds,  and  have  provided 
80  yoke  of  oxen  to  drag  them  as  far  as  Springfield,  where  I  shall 
get  fresh  cattle  to  carry  them  to  camp.  The  route  will  be  from  here 
to  Kinderhook,  from  thence  to  Great  Barrington,  and  down  to 
Springfield.  I  have  sent  for  the  sleds  and  teams  to  come  here,  and 
expect  to  begin  to  move  them  to  Saratoga  on  Wednesday  or  Thurs- 
day next,  trusting  that  between  this  and  then  we  shall  have  a  fine 
fall  of  snow,  which  will  enable  us  to  proceed  further,  and  make  the 
carriage  easy.  If  that  shall  be  the  case,  I  hope  in  sixteen  or  seven- 
teen days'  time  to  be  able  to  present  to  your  Excellency  a  noble 
train  of  artillery." 

From  Albany,  5th  Jan.  1776  :  — 

"  I  was  in  hopes  that  we  should  have  been  able  to  have  had  the 
cannon  at  Cambridge  by  this  time.  The  want  of  snow  detained  us 
some  days,  and  now  a  cruel  thaw  hinders  from  crossing  Hudson 
River,  which  we  are  obliged  to  do  four  times  from  Lake  George  to 
this  town.  The  first  severe  night  will  make  the  ice  on  the  river 
sufficiently  strong ;  till  that  happens  the  cannon  and  mortars  must 
remain  where  they  are.  These  inevitable  delays  pain  me  exceed- 
ingly, as  my  mind  is  fully  sensible  of  the  importance  of  the  greatest 
expedition  in  this  case.  .  .  .  General  Schuyler  has  been  exceedingly 
assiduous  in  this  matter.  As  to  myself,  my  utmost  endeavors  have 
been,  and  still  shall  be,  used  to  forward  them  with  the  utmost  des- 

And  on  the  same  day  he  writes  to  his  wife :  — 

"...  A  little  about  my  travels.  New  York  is  a  place  where  I 
think  in  general  the  houses  are  better  built  than  in  Boston.  They 
are  generally  of  brick,  and  three  stories  high,  with  the  largest  kind 



of  windows.  Their  churches  are  grand ;  their  college,  workhouse, 
and  hospitals  most  excellently  situated,  and  also  exceedingly  com- 
modious ;  their  principal  streets  much  wider  than  ours.  The 
people,  —  why,  the  people  are  magnificent:  in  their  equipages, 
which  are  numerous ;  in  their  house  furniture,  which  is  fine ;  in 
their  pride  and  conceit,  which  are  inimitable ;  in  their  profaneness, 
which  is  intolerable ;  in  the  want  of  principle,  which  is  prevalent ; 
in  their  Toryism,  which  is  unsufferable,  and  for  which  they  must 
repent  in  dust  and  ashes.  The  country  from  New  York  to  this  city 
[Albany]  is  not  very  populous,  —  not  the  fifth  part  so  much  so  as  in 
New  England,  and  with  much  greater  marks  of  poverty  than  there. 
The  people  of  this  city,  of  which  there  are  about  5,000  or  6,000, 

are,  I  believe,  honest  enough,  and  many  of  them  sensible  people, 

much  more  so  than  any  other  part  of  the  government  which  I've 
seen.  There  are  four  very  good  buildings  for  public  worship,  with 
a  State  House,  the  remains  of  capital  barracks,  hospital,  and  fort, 
which  must  in  their  day  have  been  very  clever.  (It  is  situated  on 
the  side  of  a  hill.) 

"Albany,  from  its  situation,  and  commanding  the  trade  of  the 
water  and  the  immense  territories  westward,  must  one  day  be,  if  not 
the  capital,  yet  nearly  to  it,  of  America.  There  are  a  number  of 
gentlemen's  very  elegant  seats  in  view  from  that  part  of  the  river 
before  the  town,  among  them  I  think  General  Schuyler's  claims  the 
preference ;  the  owner  of  which  is  sensible  and  polite,  and  I  think 
has  behaved  with  vast  propriety  to  the  British  officers  who,  by  the 
course  of  war,  have  fallen  into  our  hands.  Certain  of  them  set  out 
from  this  for  Pennsylvania  yesterday,  among  whom  was  General 
Prescott,  who  has  by  all  accounts  behaved  exceedingly  ill  to  Colonel 
Allen  of  ours,  who  was  taken  at  Montreal.  Here  is  also  Major 
Gamble,  who  wrote  the  letters  from  Quebec  which  were  published 
last  summer.  There  are  in  all  about  sixty  commissioned  officers, 
besides  about  twenty  of  the  Canadian  noblesse,  who  appeared  as 
lively  and  happy  as  if  nothing  [had]  happened.  One  or  two  of  the 
officers  I  pitied,  the  others  seemed  concerned,  but  not  humbled.  The 
women  and  children  suffer  amazingly  at  this  advanced  season  of 
the  year.  It  is  now  past  twelve  o'clock,  therefore  I  wish  you  a 
good  night's  repose,  and  will  mention  you  in  my  prayers." 

On  the  night  of  the  4th  of  March,  1776,  under  cover  of 
a  furious  cannonade  from  Knox's  batteries  at  Cobble  Hill, 


Lechmere's  Point,  and  Roxbury,  General  Thomas  took 
possession  of  Dorchester  Heights  commanding  the  town 
and  harbor  of  Boston,  which  he  so  strongly  fortified  that 
Howe,  the  British  commander,  though  he  made  prepara- 
tions to  attack  him  on  the  following  day,  dared  not  do  so, 
and  was  consequently  obliged  to  evacuate  Boston  on  the 

Reinforcements  were  immediately  sent  to  the  northern 
army  ;  and  the  remainder  of  Washington's  force  was,  early 
in  April,  moved  to  New  York,  which  was  soon  to  become 
the  theatre  of  active  operations. 

Knox's  engineering  talents  were  now  called  into  re- 
quisition in  Connecticut  and  Rhode  Island ;  and  previous 
to  his  arrival  in  New  York,  on  the  30th  of  April,  he  wrote 
to  Washington  and  to  Mrs.  Knox  several  letters,  from 
which  we  extract  as  follows :  — 


"Norwich,  21  April,  1776. 

"  In  passing  through  Providence,  Governor  Cooke  and  a  number 
of  the  principal  people  were  very  pressing  for  me  to  take  Newport 
in  my  way,  in  order  to  mark  out  some  works  of  defence  for  that 
place.  The  spirited  conduct  of  the  colony  troops  posted  there,  in 
driving  away  the  king's  ships,  alarmed  the  whole  colony  for  the 
safety  of  its  capital.  Knowing  your  Excellency's  anxiety  for  the 
preservation  of  everj  part  of  the  continent,  I  conceived  it  to  be  my 
duty  to  act  in  conformity  to  your  wishes,  especially  as  I  could  get 
to  Norwich  as  soon  as  the  stores  which  set  out  on  the  14th.  Accord- 
ingly I  went  to  Newport,  and  marked  out  five  batteries,  which,  from 
the  advantageous  situation  of  the  ground,  must,  when  executed, 
render  the  harbor  exceedingly  secure. 

"  Lieutenant-Colonel  Burbeck  declined  complying  with  your  Ex- 
cellency's orders,  alleging  that  the  province  had  settled  on  him  four 
shillings  sterling  per  day  during  life,  after  the  war  was  over,  which,  if 

*  The  Fluckers  accompanied  the  royal  troops  to  Halifax,  and  sailed 
thence  to  England,  where  the  father  and  mother  of  Mrs.  Knox  both  died  : 
the  former,  in  March,  1783  ;  the  latter,  in  December,  1785. 


he  went  out  of  the  province,  he  might  perhaps  lose.*  Lieutenant- 
Colonel  Mason,  who  came  with  the  ordnance  to  this  town,  being  in 
ill  health,  I  have  permitted  to  go  by  land." 


"  New  London,  April  24,  1776. 

"Sir,  —  In  consequence  of  your  Excellency's  directions,  I  am 
employed  in  looking  at  and  getting  the  necessary  information  re- 
specting the  harbor,  in  which  I  shall  spare  no  pains.  I  mentioned 
to  your  Excellency  Newport  harbor,  which,  in  conjunction  with 
this,  will,  when  fortified,  afford  a  safe  retreat  to  the  American  navy 
or  their  prizes  in  any  wind  that  blows.  They  are  equally  con- 
venient for  ships  coming  from  sea ;  and  if  the  wind  is  not  fair  to  go 
into  one  harbor,  they  may  go  into  the  other.  The  artillery  and 
stores  are  all  embarked,  together  with  the  remaining  company  of 
my  regiment,  and  have  been  waiting  for  a  fair  wind  two  days. 

"  Admiral  Hopkins  is  still  in  this  harbor,  and  I  believe  will  be 
obliged  to  continue  here  some  time.  He  has  this  day  received  in- 
telligence that  four  ships  and  two  brigs  are  off  Montauk  Point  and 
Rhode  Island,  stationed  in  such  a  manner  that  but  one  appears  at  a 
time,  and  each  able  to  come  up  to  the  assistance  of  the  others.  The 
captain  of  the  '  Cerberus'  was  on  Block  Island  yesterday,  and  told  a 
man  there  that  he  was  waiting  for  Admiral  Hopkins,  and  expected 
in  four  days  to  be  joined  by  Captain  Wallace  and  his  squadron." 

In  a  letter  to  his  wife  he  thus  describes  Admiral 
Hopkins :  — 

"  I  have  been  on  board  Admiral  Hopkins's  [ship],  and  in  company 
with  his  gallant  son  who  was  wounded  in  the  engagement  with  the 
1  Glasgow.'  The  admiral  is  an  antiquated  figure.  He  brought  to 
my  mind  Van  Tromp,  the  famous  Dutch  admiral.  Though  anti- 
quated in  figure,  he  is  shrewd  and  sensible.  I,  whom  you  think 
not  a  little  enthusiastic,  should  have  taken  him  for  an  angel,  only  he 
swore  now  and  then." 

*  This  officer  remained  in  Massachusetts  and  never  rejoined  the  regiment. 
He  was  many  years  commander  at  Castle  William,  and  died  in  Boston,  22  July, 
1785,  aged  sixty-nine. 


To  protect  New  York  city,  Washington  was  compelled 
to  hold  Kingsbridge,  Governor's  Island,  Panlus  Hook,  and 
the  Heights  of  Brooklyn.  For  all  these  posts,  separated  by 
water,  some  of  them  fifteen  miles  apart,  he  had,  early  in 
August,  but  about  10,000  men  fit  for  duty,  beside  Knox's 
regiment  of  artillery.  Most  of  the  cannon  in  the  field- 
works  were  of  iron,  old  and  honey-combed,  broken  and 

On  July  11th  Knox  writes  to  his  brother :  — 

"  Dear  Billy,  —  I  received  your  affectionate  letter  by  the  post, 
for  which  I  thank  you.  In  consequence  of  a  false  report,  my  Lucy 
and  her  babe  are  at  Stamford  or  Fairfield,  where  she  writes  me  she 
is  very  unhappy,  and  wants  to  return  here  again,  which  would  make 
me  as  unhappy  in  contemplating  the  idea  which  you  had  of  her 
flight  as  if  it  was  real.  Indeed,  the  circumstances  of  our  parting 
were  extremely  disagreeable.  She  had,  contrary  to  my  opinion, 
stayed  too  long.  From  the  hall  window,  where  we  usually  break- 
fasted, we  saw  the  ships  coming  through  the  Narrows,  with  a  fair  wind 
and  rapid  tide,  which  would  have  brought  them  up  to  the  city  in 
about  half  an  hour.  You  can  scarcely  conceive  the  distress  and 
anxiety  that  she  then  had.  The  city  in  an  uproar,  the  alarm  guns 
tiring,  the  troops  repairing  to  their  posts,  and  every  thing  in  the 
[height]  of  bustle ;  I  not  at  liberty  to  attend  her,  as  my  country 
calls  loudest.  My  God,  may  I  never  experience  the  like  feelings 
again  !  They  were  too  much  ;  but  I  found  a  way  to  disguise  them, 
for  I  scolded  like  a  fury  at  her  for  not  having  gone  before." 

To  Mrs.  Knox,  at  Norwalk  or  Fairfield,  13th  July :  — 

"  I  thank  heaven  you  were  not  here  yesterday.  Two  ships  and 
three  tenders  of  the  enemy  about  twenty  minutes  past  three  weighed 
anchor,  and  in  twenty-five  minutes  were  before  the  town.   We  had  a 

*  On  June  10,  Knox  reported  to  Washington  that  there  were  mounted, 
and  fit  for  action  in  the  city  and  neighboring  posts,  121  heavy  and  light  can- 
non, requiring  for  their  service  1,210  men.  His  regiment,  present  and  fit  for 
duty,  numbered  (including  50  officers)  520.  He  therefore  recommends  that 
it  be  immediately  raised  to  the  required  number  by  draught  from  the  other 


loud  cannonade,  but  could  not  stop  them,  though  I  believe  we  damaged 
them  much.  They  kept  over  on  the  Jersey  side  too  far  from  our 
batteries.  I  was  so  unfortunate  as  to  lose  six  men  by  accidents,  and 
a  number  wounded.  This  affair  will  be  of  service  to  my  people :  it 
will  teach  them  to  moderate  their  fiery  courage." 

August  11th,  he  again  writes  her :  — 

u  You  wish  to  know  how  I  pass  my  time.  I  generally  rise  with 
or  a  little  before  the  sun,  and  immediately  with  a  part  of  the  reg- 
iment attend  prayers,  sing  a  psalm,  and  read  a  chapter  in  [the  Bible  at] 
the  Grand  Battery.  General  Putnam  constantly  attends.  I  despatch 
a  considerable  deal  of  business  before  breakfast.  From  breakfast 
to  dinner  I  am  broiling  in  a  sun  hot  enough  to  roast  an  egg.  Some- 
times I  dine  with  the  generals,  Washington,  Putnam,  Stirling,  &c. ; 
but  I  am  mortified  that  I  haven't  had  them  to  dine  with  me  in 
return.  However,  that  cannot  be.  I  go  to  bed  at  nine  o'clock  or 
before,  every  night." 

Knox's  quarters  were  at  the  battery  near  those  of  Wash- 
ington, with  whom  he  crossed  over  to  Long  Island  daily, 
in  the  discharge  of  his  duty.  He  thus  writes  to  his  wife 
of  the  disaster  of  Aug.  27th:  — 

"About  two  o'clock  in  the  morning  (yesterday)  the  enemy 
attacked  the  woods  in  front  of  our  works  on  Long  Island,  where  our 
riflemen  lay.  They  attacked  with  a  chosen  part  of  the  Hessians, 
and  all  the  light  infantry  and  grenadiers  of  the  army,  and  after 
about  six  or  seven  hours'  smart  skirmishing  our  people  fell  back  in 
front  of  our  works.  The  enemy  lost  nearly  one  thousand  killed. 
We  lost  about  the  same  number  killed,  wounded,  and  taken  pris- 
oners, among  whom  are  General  Sullivan  and  Lord  Stirling.  Gen- 
eral Parsons  was  missing  until  this  morning,  when  he  returned.  I 
met  with  some  loss  in  my  regiment :  they  behaved  like  heroes,  and 
are  gone  to  glory.  I  was  not  on  the  island  myself,  being  obliged 
to  wait  on  my  Lord  Howe  and  the  navy  gentry  who  threatened  to 
pay  us  a  visit." 



To  the  same  Sept.  5th:  — 

"  We  want  great  men,  who  when  fortune  frowns  will  not  be  dis- 
couraged. God  will  I  trust  in  time  give  us  these  men.  The  Con- 
gress will  ruin  every  thing  by  their  stupid  parsimony,  and  they  begin 
to  see  it.  It  is,  as  I  always  said,  misfortunes  that  must  raise  us  to 
the  character  of  a  great  people.  One  or  two  drubbings  will" be  of 
service  to  us ;  and  one  severe  defeat  to  the  enemy,  ruin.  We  must 
have  a  standing  army.  The  militia  get  sick,  or  think  themselves  so, 
and  run  home  ;  and  wherever  they  go,  they  spread  a  panic." 

On  the  15th  of  September  the  army  of  General  Howe 
effected  a  landing  at  Kip's  Bay,  about  three  miles  above 
the  city,  the  evacuation  of  which,  already  in  progress,  was 
hurriedly  completed  by  the  Americans.  Knox,  who  had 
for  some  days  been  engaged  in  removing  the  ordnance 
and  stores,  left  the  city  about  twelve  o'clock  to  join 
General  Washington.  Encountering  Silliman's  brigade, 
retreating  in  great  confusion  in  the  vicinity  of  Corlaer's 
Hook,  he  lost  time  in  attempting  to  rally  the  fugitives, 
with  whom  he  then  threw  himself  into  Fort  Bunker  Hill, 
an  unfinished  work  near  the  site  of  the  present  Centre 
Market,  where  he  "  thought  only  of  a  gallant  defence." 
Colonel  Aaron  Burr,  who  was  one  of  Putnam's  aids,  riding 
up,  assured  the  troops  that  a  retreat  was  practicable,  and 
led  them  in  safety  to  the  Bloomingdale  road,  near  what 
is  now  60th  Street.  Knox,  who  was  almost  the  last  to 
leave  the  city,  escaped  capture  only  by  seizing  a  boat  and 
making  his  way  by  water.  His  arrival  at  Harlem,  where 
great  anxiety  was  felt  for  his  safety,  was  greeted  with  a 
shout  of  welcome,  and  by  an  embrace  from  Washington. 

To  his  brother  he  writes  on  the  19th:  "  My  constant 
fatigue  and  application  to  the  business  of  my  extensive 
department  has   been    such    that    I    have    not   had    my 


clothes  off    once  o'    nights    for   more   than    forty   days." 
And  again  :  — 

"  Heights  of  Harlem,  8  miles  from  New  York, 
Sept.  23d. 

"You,  with  our  other  friends  at  Boston,  are  anxious  for  our  sit- 
uation and  wish  to  know  it  exactly.  It  is  my  lot,  and  it  has  been 
so  invariably  since  I  have  been  in  the  army,  to  be  in  an  exceeding 
busy  department.  This  I  mention  not  by  way  of  dislike,  but  as 
an  excuse  for  any  seeming  negligence  or  remissness  in  writing  to 
you.  .  .  .  The  general  leading  features  or  outlines  of  what  has  already 
happened  have,  almost  ever  since  I  have  been  this  way,  been  fully 
impressed  on  my  mind.  Islands  separated  from  the  main  by  nav- 
igable waters  are  not  to  be  defended  by  a  people  without  a  navy 
against  a  nation  who  can  send  a  powerful  fleet  to  interrupt  the  com- 
munication. We  had  one  chance  to  defend  New  York.  I  don't 
know  whether  to  call  it  a  whole  chance.  I  think  I  cannot  with 
propriety :  it  was  only  part  of  a  chance,  which  was  by  being  com- 
pletely victorious  on  Long  Island.  Even  had  this  event  taken  place, 
they  could  have  burnt  the  town  by  their  shipping :  this  is  indis- 
putable, in  my  opinion.  They  in  their  first  attack  on  Long  Island, 
lost  us  by  our  own  fault  in  not  guarding  the  passes,  made  such 
lodgement  near  our  works,  that  they  were  not  obliged  to  leave  more 
than  five  thousand  men  to  guard  them.  This  would  have  left  fifteen 
thousand  men  at  least  to  have  made  a  push  up  the  North  River, 
and  landed  in  our  rear  and  fortified.  Had  they  taken  this  measure, 
which  in  good  policy  they  ought  to  have  done,  they  might  at  one 
stroke  have  reduced  the  whole  army  to  the  necessity  of  becoming 
prisoners  without  being  able  to  fight  in  the  least.  But  in  this  and 
several  other  capital  matters  they  have  not  acted  the  great  war- 
riors :  indeed  I  see  nothing  of  the  vast  about  them  either  in  their 
designs  or  execution.  But,  good  God,  if  they  are  little,  thou 
knowest  full  well  we  are  much  less,  and  that  nothing  less  than  the 
infatuation  of  the  enemy  and  the  almost  immediate  interposition 
of  thy  providence  has  saved  this  rabble  army. 

"  The  general  is  as  worthy  a  man  as  breathes,  but  he  cannot  do 
every  thing  nor  be  everywhere.  He  wants  good  assistants.  There 
is  a  radical  evil  in  our  army,  —  the  lack  of  officers.  We  ought  to 
have  men  of  merit  in  the  most  extensive  and  unlimited  sense  of 
the  word.     Instead  of  which,  the  bulk  of  the  officers  of  the  army 


are  a  parcel  of  ignorant,  stupid  men,  who  might  make  tolerable 
soldiers,  but  [are]  bad  officers ;  and  until  Congress  forms  an  estab- 
lishment to  induce  men  proper  for  the  purpose  to  leave  their  usual 
employments  and  enter  the  service,  it  is  ten  to  one  they  will  be 
beat  till  they  are  heartily  tired  of  it.  We  ought  to  have  academies, 
in  which  the  whole  theory  of  the  art  of  war  shall  be  taught,  and 
every  other  encouragement  possible  given  to  draw  persons  into  the 
army  that  may  give  a  lustre  to  our  arms.  As  the  army  now  stands, 
it  is  only  a  receptacle  for  ragmuffins.  You  will  observe  I  am 
chagrined,  not  more  so  than  at  any  other  time  since  I've  been  in 
the  army;  but  many  late  affairs,  of  which  I've  been  an  eve-witness, 
have  so  totally  sickened  me,  that  unless  some  very  different  mode 
of  conduct  is  observed  in  the  formation  of  the  new  army,  I  shall 
not  think  myself  obliged  by  either  the  laws  of  God  or  nature  to 
risk  my  reputation  on  so  cobweb  a  foundation. 

"  The  affair  of  last  Monday  (battle  of  Harlem  Plains)  has  had 
some  good  consequences  towards  raising  the  people's  spirits.  They 
find  that  if  they  stick  to  these  mighty  men  they  will  run  as  fast  as 
other  people.  We  pursued  them  nearly  two  miles.  About  fifteen 
hundred  of  our  troops  engaged ;  of  the  enemy,  about  the  same  num- 
ber. The  grounds  on  which  we  now  rest  are  strong,  I  think  we 
shall  defend  them :  if  we  don't,  I  hope  God  will  punish  us  both  in 
this  world  and  the  world  to  come,  if  the  fault  is  ours.  Pay  Mrs. 
Crane,  wife  to  Major  Crane,  fifty  dollars,  and  inform  her  that  the 
Major  is  in  a  fair  way  to  do  well.  He  is  in  high  esteem  in  the 
army,  and  the  loss  of  his  services  much  regretted  by  me.*     The 

*  Crane  had,  a  few  days  before,  been  wounded  in  the  foot  by  a  shot  from 
Captain  Wallace's  frigate,  which  he  was  cannonading.  John  Crane  was  born 
at  Braintree,  Mass.,  7  December,  1744,  and  died  at  Whiting,  Me.,  21  August, 
1805.  He  was  a  housewright ;  was  one  of  the  "  Tea  Party,"  and  lived 
in  a  house  still  standing  in  Tremont  Street,  Boston,  opposite  Hollis  Street. 
He  removed  to  Providence  in  1774,  and  there  raised  a  company  of  artillery, 
with  which  he  joined  Gridley's  regiment  in  the  summer  of  1775,  with  the 
rank  of  major.  He  received  the  same  commission  in  Knox's  regiment,  Jan. 
1,  1776,  and  raised  in  the  following  year  and  commanded  throughout  the 
war  a  regiment  of  continental  artillery.  Colonel  Crane  was  one  of  the  mem- 
bers of  Paddock's  artillery  company  before  the  war,  and  distinguished  him- 
self upon  several  occasions  during  the  contest,  being  honorably  mentioned  by 
General  Sullivan  during  the  Ehode  Island  expedition.  After  the  war  he 
carried  on  the  lumber  business  in  Washington  County,  Me. 


scoundrel  Hessians  took  my  baggage-cart,  with  the  great  part  of 
my  necessary  matters,  which  I  find  very  difficult  to  replace  at 

He  writes  him  also  an  account  of  the  action  of  Oct. 
28th :  — 

"  Near  White  Plains,  32  miles  from  New  York, 
1  Nov.  1776. 

"  Last  Monday,  the  enemy  with  nearly  their  whole  force  ad- 
vanced upon  the  hills  above  us ;  and  soon  after  ten  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  with  a  large  part  of  their  army,  began  a  most  furious 
attack  on  a  hill  (Chatter-ton's)  on  our  right,  where  we  had  about 
one  thousand  posted  under  General  McDougall,  which  they  carried 
with  considerable  loss.  Our  loss  was  not  very  great.  Our  men 
had  no  works,  and  were  not  timely  reinforced,  owing  to  the  distance 
they  were  from  the  main  body.  The  enemy's  having  possession  of 
this  hill  obliged  us  to  abandon  some  slight  lines  thrown  up  on 
White  Plains.  This  we  did  this  morning,  and  retired  to  some  hills 
about  half  a  mile  in  the  rear.  The  enemy  are  determined  on 
something  decisive,  and  we  are  determined  to  risk  a  general  battle 
only  on  the  most  advantageous  terms.  We  are  manoeuvring,  in 
which   I  think  they  are   somewhat  our  superiors." 

The  loss  of  Fort  Washington,  which  took  place  on  Nov. 
16th,  was  a  serious  blow  to  the  Americans.  General 
Greene's  mortification  at  the  event,  as  well  as  his  reasons 
for  endeavoring  to  hold  that  post,  are  given  for  the  first 
time  in  this  highly  interesting  letter  to  his  friend  Knox :  — 

"Fort  Lee,  Nov.  [17],  1776. 
"Your  favor  of  the  14th  reached  me  in  a  melancholy  temper. 
The  misfortune  of  losing  Fort  Washington,  with  between  two  and 
three  thousand  men,  will  reach  you  before  this,  if  it  has  not  already. 
His  Excellency  General  Washington  has  been  with  me  for  several 
days.  The  evacuation  or  reinforcement  of  Fort  Washington  was 
under  consideration,  but  finally  nothing  concluded  on.  Day  before 
yesterday,  about  one  o'clock,  Howe's  adjutant-general  made  a 
demand  of  the  surrender  of  the  garrison  in  the  general's  name,  but 
was  answered  by  the  commanding  officer  that  he  should  defend  it 


to  the  last  extremity.  Yesterday  morning,  General  Washington, 
General  Putnam,  General  Mercer,  and  myself  went  to  the  island  to 
determine  what  was  best  to  be  done;  but  just  at  the  instant  we 
stepped  on  board  the  boat  the  enemy  made  their  appearance  on  the 
hill  where  the  Monday  action  was,  and  began  a  severe  cannonade 
with  several  field-pieces.  Our  guards  soon  fled,  the  enemy  advanced 
up  to  the  second  line.  This  was  done  while  we  were  crossing  the 
river  and  getting  upon  the  hill.  The  enemy  made  several  marches 
to  the  right  and  to  the  left,  —  I  suppose  to  reconnoitre  the  fortifica- 
tions and  lines. 

There  we  all  stood  in  a  very  awkward  situation.  As  the  disposi- 
tion was  made,  and  the  enemy  advancing,  we  durst  not  attempt  to 
make  any  new  disposition  ;  indeed,  we  saw  nothing  amiss.  We  all 
urged  his  Excellency  to  come  off.  I  offered  to  stay,  General  Putnam 
did  the  same,  and  so  did  General  Mercer;  but  his  Excellency  thought 
it  best  for  us  all  to  come  off  together,  which  we  did,  about  half  an 
hour  before  the  enemy  surrounded  the  fort.  The  enemy  came  up 
Harlem  River,  and  landed  a  party  at  head-quarters,  which  was 
upon  the  back  of  our  people  in  the  lines.  A  disorderly  retreat  soon 
took  place ;  without  much  firing  the  people  retreated  into  the  fort. 
On  the  north  side  of  the  fort  there  was  a  very  heavy  fire  for  a  long 
while ;  and  as  they  had  the  advantage  of  the  ground,  I  apprehend 
the  enemy's  loss  must  be  great.  After  the  troops  retreated  in  the 
fort,  very  few  guns  were  fired.  The  enemy  approached  within 
small-arm  fire  of  the  lines,  and  sent  in  a  flag,  and  the  garrison  capit- 
ulated in  an  hour.  I  was  afraid  of  the  fort :  the  redoubt  you  and  I 
advised,  too,  was  not  done,  or  little  or  nothing  done  to  it.  Had  that 
been  complete,  I  think  the  garrison  might  have  defended  themselves 
a  long  while,  or  been  brought  off.  I  feel  mad,  vexed,  sick,  and 
sorry.  Never  did  I  need  the  consoling  voice  of  a  friend  more  than 
now.  Happy  should  I  be  to  see  you.  This  is  a  most  terrible 
event:  its  consequences  are  justly  to  be  dreaded.  Pray,  what  is 
said  upon  the  occasion  ?  A  line  from  you  will  be  very  acceptable. 
I  am,  dear  sir,  your  obedient  servant,  N.  Greene. 

"  No  particulars  of  the  action  as  yet  has  come  to  my  knowledge. 
[Mem.  on  the  back.]  I  have  not  time  to  give  you  a  description  of 
the  battle. 

[Addressed :] 
To  Coll0  Henry  Knox, 

White  Plains. 


In  this  unfortunate  affair,  the  artillery  regiment  lost 
about  one  hundred  men,  including  Captain  Pierce.  Then 
followed  the  evacuation  of  Fort  Lee  and  the  memorable 
retreat  of  Washington's  little  army  through  the  Jerseys, 
"  protracted  for  eighteen  or  nineteen  days  in  an  inclement 
season,  often  in  sight  and  within  cannon-shot  of  his 
enemies,  his  rear  pulling  down  bridges  and  their  van  build- 
ing them  up,"  delaying  them  till  midwinter  and  impas- 
sable roads  should  close  the  campaign.  On  Dec.  13th, 
Howe,  believing  that  the  American  force  would  melt  away 
at  the  near  expiration  of  their  engagements,  returned  to  his 
winter  quarters  in  New  York,  leaving  Colonel  Donop  with 
his  Hessians  and  the  42d  Highlanders  to  hold  the  line  from 
Trenton  to  Burlington. 

At  this  critical  moment,  when  even  the  calm  soul  of 
Washington  trembled  for  his  country's  freedom,  Knox  was 
one  of  those  who  strengthened  his  hand  and  encouraged 
his  heart ;  and  his  letters  written  in  the  darkest  periods  of 
the  war  show  that  he  never  yielded  to  despondency,  but 
confidently  anticipated  its  triumphant  issue. 

Washington  now  resolved  to  strike  a  blow  that  should 
cripple  his  enemy  and  revive  the  sinking  spirit  of  his 
countrymen.  He  crossed  the  Delaware,  Knox  superin- 
tending its  passage,  and  by  his  stentorian  voice  making 
audible  the  orders  of  his  chief  above  the  fury  of  the 
blast,  and  surprising  the  post  at  Trenton  captured  the  entire 
garrison.  After  this  victory,  Knox  and  Greene  were  in 
favor  of  following  it  up  by  marching  upon  New  Bruns- 
wick. Washington  was  inclined  to  adopt  this  course,  but 
the  generality  of  the  other  officers  opposed  it,  an  opposi- 
tion they  afterward  regretted.  His  account  of  this  and 
the  subsequent  brilliant  affair  at  Princeton  is  given  in  the 
following  letters  to  Mrs.  Knox :  — 


"  Delaware  River,  near  Trenton, 

Dec.  28,  1776,  near  12  o'clock. 

"My  dearly  beloved  Friend, — You  will  before  this  have 
heard  of  our  success  on  the  morning  of  the  26th  instant.  The 
enemy,  by  their  superior  marching,  had  obliged  us  to  retire  on  the 
Pennsylvania  side  of  the  Delaware,  by  which  means  we  were  obliged 
to  evacuate  or  give  up  nearly  all  the  Jerseys.  Soon  after  our  retiring 
over  the  river,  the  preservation  of  Philadelphia  was  a  matter  exceed- 
ingly precarious,  —  the  force  of  the  enemy  three  or  four  times  as 
large  as  ours.  However,  thev  seemed  content  with  their  success 
for  the  present,  and  quartered  their  troops  in  different  and  distant 
places  in  the  Jerseys.  Of  these  cantonments  Trenton  was  the  most 

"  Trenton  is  an  open  town,  situated  nearly  on  the  banks  of  the 
Delaware,  accessible  on  all  sides.  Our  army  was  scattered  along  the 
river  for  nearly  twenty-five  miles.  Our  intelligence  agreed  that  the 
force  of  the  enemy  in  Trenton  was  from  two  to  three  thousand,  with 
about  six  field  cannon,  and  that  they  were  pretty  secure  in  their 
situation,  and  that  they  were  Hessians,  —  no  British  troops.  A 
hardy  design  wras  formed  of  attacking  the  town  by  storm.  Accord- 
ingly a  part  of  the  army,  consisting  of  about  2,500  or  3,000,  passed 
the  river  on  Christmas  night,  with  almost  infinite  difficulty,  with 
eighteen  field-pieces.  The  floating  ice  in  the  river  made  the  labor 
almost  incredible.  However,  perseverance  accomplished  what  at 
first  seemed  impossible.  About  two  o'clock  the  troops  were  all  on  the 
Jersey  side ;  we  then  were  about  nine  miles  from  the  object.  The 
night  was  cold  and  stormy ;  it  hailed  with  great  violence ;  the  troops 
marched  with  the  most  profound  silence  and  good  order. 

"  They  arrived  by  two  routes  at  the  same  time,  about  half  an  hour 
after  daylight,  within  one  mile  of  the  town.  The  storm  continued 
with  great  violence,  but  was  in  our  backs,  and  consequently  in  the 
faces  of  our  enemy.  About  half  a  mile  from  the  town  was  an 
advanced  guard  on  each  road,  consisting  of  a  captain's  guard.  These 
we  forced,  and  entered  the  town  with  them  pell-mell ;  and  here 
succeeded  a  scene  of  war  of  which  I  had  often  conceived,  but  never 
saw  before.  The  hurry,  fright,  and  confusion  of  the  enemy  was 
[not]  unlike  that  which  will  be  when  the  last  trump  shall  sound. 
They  endeavored  to  form  in  streets,  the  heads  of  which  we  had 
previously  the  possession  of  with  cannon  and  howitzers ;  these,  in 


the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  cleared  the  streets.  The  backs  of  the 
houses  were  resorted  to  for  shelter.  These  proved  ineffectual :  the 
musketry  soon  dislodged  them.  Finally  they  were  driven  through 
the  town  into  an  open  plain  beyond.  Here  they  formed  in  an 
instant.  During  the  contest  in  the  streets  measures  were  taken  for 
putting  an  entire  stop  to  their  retreat  by  posting  troops  and  cannon 
in  such  passes  and  roads  as  it  was  possible  for  them  to  get  away  by. 
The  poor  fellows  after  they  were  formed  on  the  plain  saw  them- 
selves completely  surrounded,  the  only  resource  left  was  to  force 
their  way  through  numbers  unknown  to  them.  The  Hessians  lost 
part  of  their  cannon  in  the  town :  they  did  not  relish  the  project  of 
forcing,  and  were  obliged  to  surrender  upon  the  spot,  with  all  their 
artillery,  six  brass  pieces,  army  colors,  &c.  A  Colonel  Rawle  com- 
manded, who  was  wounded.  The  number  of  prisoners  was  above  1,200, 
including  officers,  —  all  Hessians.  There  were  few  killed  or  wounded 
on  either  side.  After  having  marched  off  the  prisoners  and  secured  the 
cannon,  stores,  &c,  we  returned  to  the  place,  nine  miles  distant,  where 
we  had  embarked.  Providence  seemed  to  have  smiled  upon  every 
part  of  this  enterprise.  Great  advantages  may  be  gained  from  it  if 
we  take  the  proper  steps.  At  another  post  we  have  pushed  over 
the  river  2,000  men,  to-day  another  body,  and  to-morrow  the  whole 
army  will  follow.  It  must  give  a  sensible  pleasure  to  every  friend 
of  the  rights  of  man  to  think  with  how  much  intrepidity  our  people 
pushed  the  enemy,  and  prevented  their  forming  in  the  town. 

"  His  Excellency  the  General  has  done  me  the  unmerited  great 
honor  of  thanking  me  in  public  orders  in  terms  strong  and  polite. 
This  I  should  blush  to  mention  to  any  other  than  to  you,  my  dear 
Lucy ;  and  I  am  fearful  that  even  my  Lucy  may  think  her  Harry 
possesses  a  species  of  little  vanity  in  doing  [it]  at  all." 

"  Trenton,  2d  Jan.  1777. 
"  We  are  collecting  our  force  at  this  place,  and  shall  give  battle 
to  the  enemy  very  soon.  Our  people  have  exerted  great  fortitude, 
and  stayed  beyond  the  time  of  their  enlistment,  in  high  spirits,  but 
waut  rum  and  clothing.  Will  it  give  you  satisfaction  or  pleasure 
in  being  informed  that  the  Congress  have  created  me  a  general 
officer  —  a  brigadier  —  with  the  entire  command  of  the  artillery?* 

*  His  commission  was  dated  Dec.  27,  1776,  the  day  following  the  victory 
of  Trenton,  but  before  the  news  had  reached  Congress.  That  body  had 
previously  resolved  to  augment  the  artillery  to  a  brigade  of  four  regiments. 

38  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

If  so,  I  shall  be  happy.  It  was  unsolicited  on  my  part,  though  I  can- 
not say  unexpected.  People  are  more  lavish  in  their  praises  of  my 
poor  endeavors  than  they  deserve.  All  the  merit  I  can  claim  is 
industry.  I  wish  to  render  my  devoted  country  every  service  in  my 
power ;  and  the  only  alloy  I  have  in  my  little  exertions  is,  that  it 
separates  me  from  thee,  —  the  dearest  object  of  all  my  earthly  hap- 
piness.    May  Heaven  give  us  a  speedy  and  happy  meeting. 

"  The  attack  of  Trenton  was  a  most  horrid  scene  to  the  poor 
inhabitants.  War,  my  Lucy,  is  not  a  humane  trade,  and  the  man 
who  follows  [it]  as  such  will  meet  with  his  proper  demerits  in 
another  world." 

"  Morristown,  Jan.  7,  1777. 

"  My  dearest  Love,  —  I  wrote  to  you  from  Trenton  by  a  Mr. 
Furness,  which  I  hope  }ou  have  received.  I  then  informed  you 
that  we  soon  expected  another  tussle.  I  was  not  out  in  my  conject- 
ure. About  three  o'clock  on  the  2d  of  January,  a  column  of  the 
enemy  attacked  a  party  of  ours  which  was  stationed  about  one 
mile  above  Trenton.  Our  party  was  small,  and  did  not  make  much 
resistance.  The  enemy,  who  were  Hessians,  entered  the  town  pell- 
mell,  pretty  much  in  the  same  manner  that  we  had  driven  them  a 
few  days  before. 

"  Nearly  on  the  other  side  of  Trenton,  partly  in  the  town,  runs  a 
brook  (the  Assanpink),  which  in  most  places  is  not  fordable,  and 
over  which  through  Trenton  is  a  bridge.  The  ground  on  the  other 
side  is  much  higher  than  on  this,  and  may  be  said  to  command 
Trenton  completely.  Here  it  was  our  army  drew  up,  with  thirty 
or  forty  pieces  of  artillery  in  front.  The  enemy  pushed  our  small 
party  through  the  town  with  vigor,  though  not  with  much  loss. 
Their  retreat  over  the  bridge  was  thoroughly  secured  by  the  artil- 
lery. After  they  had  retired  over  the  bridge,  the  enemy  advanced 
within  reach  of  our  cannon,  who  saluted  them  with  great  vocifera- 
tion and  some  execution.  This  continued  till  dark,  when  of  course 
it  ceased,  except  a  i'aw  shells  we  now  and  then  chucked  into  town 
to  prevent  their  enjoying  their  new  quarters  securely.  As  I  before 
mentioned,  the  creek  was  in  our  front,  our  left  on  the  Delaware,  our 
right  in  a  wood,  parallel  to  the  creek.  The  situation  was  strong,  to 
be  sure  ;  but  hazardous  on  this  account,  that  had  our  right  wing  been 
defeated,  the  defeat  of  the  left  would  almost  have  been  an  inevitable 
consequence,  and  the  whole  thrown  into  confusion  or  pushed  into 
the  Delaware,  as  it  was  impassable  by  boats. 


"  From  these  circumstances  the  general  thought  it  best  to  attack 
Princeton,  twelve  miles  in  the  rear  of  the  enemy's  grand  army,  and 
where  they  had  the  17th,  40th,  and  55th  regiments,  with  a  number 
of  draughts,  altogether  perhaps  twelve  hundred  men.  Accordingly, 
about  one  o'clock  at  night  we  began  to  march  and  make  this  most 
extra  manoeuvre.  Our  troops  marched  with  great  silence  and  order, 
and  arrived  near  Princeton  a  little  after  daybreak.  We  did  not 
surprise  them  as  at  Trenton  ;  for  they  were  on  their  march  down  to 
Trenton,  on  a  road  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  distant  from  the  one 
in  which  we  were.  You  may  judge  of  their  surprise  when  they 
discovered  such  large  columns  marching  up.  They  could  not  pos- 
sibly suppose  it  was  our  army,  for  that  they  took  for  granted  was 
cooped  up  near  Trenton.  They  could  not  possibly  suppose  it  was 
their  own  army  returning  by  a  back  road  ;  in  short,  I  believe  they 
were  as  much  astonished  as  if  an  army  had  dropped  perpendicularly 
upon  them.  However  they  had  not  much  time  for  consideration. 
We  pushed  a  party  to  attack  them.  This  they  repulsed  with  great 
spirit,  and  advanced  upon  another  column  just  then  coming  out  of 
a  wood,  which  they  likewise  put  in  some  disorder;  but  fresh  troops 
coming  up,  and  the  artillery  beginning  to  play,  they  were  after  a 
smart  resistance  totally  put  to  the  rout.  The  17th  regiment  used 
their  bayonets  with  too  much  severity  upon  a  party  they  put  to 
flight ;  but  they  were  paid  for  it  in  proportion,  very  few  escaping. 
Near  sixty  were  killed  on  the  spot,  besides  the  wounded.  We 
have  taken  between  three  and  four  hundred  prisoners,  all  British 
troops.  They  must  have  lost  in  this  affair  nearly  five  hundred 
killed,  wounded,  and  prisoners.  We  lost  some  gallant  officers. 
Brigadier-General  Mercer  was  wounded  :  he  had  three  separate  stabs 
with  a  bayonet.  A  Lieutenant-Colonel  Fleming  was  killed,  and 
Captain  Neil  of  the  artillery,  an  excellent  officer.  Mercer  will  get 
better.*  The  enemy  took  his  parole  after  we  left  Princeton.  We 
took  all  their  cannon,  which  consisted  of  two  brass  six-pounders,  a 
considerable  quantity  of  military  stores,  blankets,  guns,  &c.  They 
lost,  among  a  number  of  other  officers,  a  Captain  Leslie,  a  son  of 
the  Earl  of  Leven  and  nephew  to  General  Leslie :  him  we  brought 
off,  and  buried  with  the  honors  of  war. 

"  After   we   had  been   about  two  hours  at  Princeton,  word  was 

*  Mercer's  wound  proved  mortal,  and  he  died  on  the  12th. 


brought  that  the  enemy  were  advancing  from  Trenton.  This  they 
did,  as  we  have  since  been  informed,  in  a  most  infernal  sweat,  —  run- 
ning, puffing,  and  blowing,  and  swearing  at  being  so  outwitted.  As 
we  had  other  objects  in  view,  to  wit,  breaking  up  their  quarters, 
we  pursued  our  march  to  Somerset  Court  House,  where  there  were 
about  thirteen  hundred  quartered,  as  we  had  been  informed.  They, 
however,  had  marched  off,  and  joined  the  army  at  Trenton.  We  at 
first  intended  to  have  made  a  forced  march  to  Brunswick;  but  our 
men  having  been  without  either  rest,  rum,  or  provisions  for  two 
nights  and  days,  were  unequal  to  the  task  of  marching  seventeen 
miles  further.  If  we  could  have  secured  one  thousand  fresh  men 
at  Princeton  to  have  pushed  for  Brunswick,  we  should  have  struck 
one  of  the  most  brilliant  strokes  in  all  history.  However,  the 
advantages  are  very  great :  already  they  have  collected  their  whole 
force,  and  drawn  themselves  to  one  point,  to  wit,  Brunswick. 

"  The  enemy  were  within  nineteen  miles  of  Philadelphia,  they  are 
now  sixty  miles.  We  have  driven  them  from  almost  the  whole  of 
West  Jersey.  The  panic  is  still  kept  up.  We  had  a  battle  two 
days  ago  with  a  party  of  ours  and  sixty  Waldeckers,  who  were  all 
killed  or  taken,  in  Monmouth  County  in  the  lower  part  of  the 
Jerseys.  It  is  not  our  interest  to  fight  a  general  battle,  nor  can  I 
think  under  all  circumstances  it  is  the  enemy's.  They  have  sent 
their  baggage  to  Staten  Island  from  the  Jerseys,  and  we  are  very 
well  informed  they  are  doing  the  same  from  New  York.  Heath 
will  have  orders  to  march  there,  and  endeavor  to  storm  it  on  that 
side.  'There  is  a  tide  in  the  affairs  of  men,  which  taken  at  the 
flood  leads  on  to  victory.'  For  my  part,  my  Lucy,  I  look  up  to 
heaven  and  most  devoutly  thank  the  great  Governor  of  the  Universe 
for  producing  this  turn  in  our  affairs;  and  the  sentiment  I  hope  will 
so  prevail  in  the  hearts  of  the  people  as  to  induce  them  to  be  a  peo- 
ple chosen  of  Heaven,  not  to  give  way  to  despair,  but  at  all  times 
and  under  all  circumstances  never  to  despair  of  the  Common- 

After  the  battle  at  Princeton,  Knox  recommended  the 
march  to  Morristown,  which  he  had  observed  to  be  a  good 
position.  The  army  would  be  on  the  enemy's  flank,  and 
might  easily  change  its  situation  if  requisite.  His  earnest 
importunities  prevailed,  and   winter   quarters    were    there 


established.  lie  was  then  sent  on  a  mission  to  the  east- 
ward, to  see  to  the  casting  of  cannon  and  the  establish- 
ment of  laboratories,  during  which  he  visited  his  wife  at 
Boston,  whence  he  writes  to  the  commander-in-chief,  under 
date  of  Feb.  1st :  — 

"  After  my  letter  to  General  Greene  from  Springfield  of  the 
26th  ult.,  I  set  out  for  this  place,  in  order  to  provide  such  materials 
as  were  necessary  to  carry  on  the  various  branches  connected  with 
the  laboratory  and  ordnance  establishment.  Upon  my  arrival  here, 
I  was  much  surprised  at  the  very  extraordinary  bounty  offered  by 
the  State  ($86§)  for  recruits  for  the  service.  Part  of  a  regiment, 
consisting  of  four  hundred  men  with  a  detachment  of  one  hundred 
and  fifty  artillery,  marches  to-morrow  and  next  day  for  Ticonderoga. 
The  enlistments  in  this  town  have  been  exceeding  rapid.  General 
Ward  is  here,  but  whether  he  acts  as  a  councillor  of  the  Massachu- 
setts or  a  continental  general  is  difficult  to  say.  There  must  be  one 
battalion  of  artillery  raised  in  this  State  ;  for  all  the  old  artillery- 
men, who  have  been  two  years  in  the  service,  and  acquired  some 
experience,  are  from  this  town  and  colony.  If  the  Congress  should 
still  adhere  to  Brookfield  in  preference  to  Springfield,  it  will  delay 
every  thing  for  three  or  four  months.  I  wrote  General  Greene 
from  Springfield  that  it  was  the  best  place  in  all  the  four  New  Eng- 
land States  for  a  laboratory,  cannon  foundry,  &c,  and  I  hope  your 
Excellency  will  order  it  there." 

In  the  following  May  we  find  him  associated  with  Greene 
in  planning  the  defences  of  the  North  River.  On  the 
eighth,  Mrs.  Knox  writes  him  from  Sewall's  Point  (Brook- 
line,  near  Boston),  where  she  with  her  babe  had  been 
undergoing  inoculation  for  the   small  pox:  — 

"  I  have  no  company  here  but  Madame  Heath,  who  is  so 
stiff  it  is  impossible  to  be  sociable  with  her,  and  Mr. 
Gardner  the  treasurer,  so  that  you  may  well  think  what  I 
feel  under  my  present  anxiety."  And  a  few  days  later 
she  writes  from  Boston  :  — 


"A  French  general  (Ducoudray),  who  styles  himself  commander- 
in-chief  of  the  continental  artillery,  is  now  in  town.  He  says  his 
appointment  is  from  Mr.  Deane,  that  he  is  going  immediately  to 
head-quarters  to  take  command,  that  he  is  a  major-general  and  a 
deal  of  it.  Who  knows  hut  I  may  have  my  Harry  again  ?  This  I 
am  sure  of,  he  will  never  suffer  any  one  to  command  him  in  that 
department.  If  he  does,  he  has  not  the  soul  which  I  now  think  him 
possessed  of." 

To  his  wife,  Knox  writes  from  Morristown,  on  May 
20th :  — 

"  From  the  present  information  it  appears  that  America  will  have 
much  more  reason  to  hope  for  a  successful  campaign  the  ensuing 
summer  than  she  had  the  last.  Our  forces  come  in  pretty  fast,  and 
are  disciplining  for  the  war.  We  are  well  supplied  with  arms  and 
ammunition  of  all  species  :  this,  with  the  blessing  of  Heaven,  will 
assist  us  much  ;  but,  I  am  sorry  to  say  it,  we  seem  to  be  increasing 
most  rapidly  in  impiety.  This  is  a  bad  omen,  but  I  hope  we  shall 
mend,  though  I  see  no  immediate  prospect  of  it.  .  .  .  Though  your 
parents  are  on  the  opposite  side  from  your  Harry,  yet  it's  very 
strange  it  should  divest  them  of  humanity.  Not  a  line  !  My  God  ! 
what  stuff  is  the  human  heart  made  of  ?  Although  father,  mother, 
sister,  and  brother  have  forgotten  you,  yet,  my  love,  your  Harry  will 
ever  esteem  you  the  best  boon  of  Heaven." 

Again  from  Camp  Middlebrook,  21st  June,  1777  :  — 

"We  have  the  most  respectable  body  of  continental  troops  that 
America  ever  had,  no  going  home  to-morrow  to  suck,  —  hardy,  brave 
fellows,  who  are  as  willing  to  go  to  heaven  by  the  way  of  a  bayonet 
or  sword  as  any  other  mode.  With  the  blessing  of  Heaven,  I  have 
great  hopes  in  the  course  of  this  campaign  that  we  shall  do  some- 
thing clever.  I  think  in  five  days  there  will  not  be  an  enemy  in 
the  Jerseys ;  but  I  fear  they  will  go  up  the  North  River,  where  per- 
haps they  may  plague  us  more.  The  inhabitants  here  appeared  as 
one  man,  and  as  people  actuated  by  revenge  for  the  many  rapes 
and  murders  committed  on  them.  The  Congress  have  taken  some 
precious  steps  with  regard  to  Mr.  Ducoudray.     They  have  resolved 


that  Mr.  Deane  has  exceeded  his  commission,  and  that  they  cannot 
ratify  his  treaty  with  Mr.  Ducoudray.  Pretty  this  !  —  to  bring  a  gen- 
tleman 1,200  leagues  to  affront  him." 

"  Camp  Pompton  Plains,  13  July,  1777. 
u  The  letter  which  I  wrote  to  Congress,  to  know  whether  they  had 
appointed  Mr.  Ducoudray,  has,  in  conjunction  with  the  letter  of 
Generals  Sullivan  and  Greene,  produced  a  resolve  purporting  '  the 
said  letters  to  be  an  infringement  on  the  liberties  of  the  people,  as 
tending  to  influence  the  decisions  of  Congress,'  and  expecting  that 
we  make  acknowledgments  to  them  for  'so  singular  an  impro- 
priety.' Conscious  of  the  rectitude  of  my  intention  and  of  the 
contents  of  my  letter,  I  shall  make  no  acknowledgments  whatever 
Though  my  country  is  too  much  pressed  at  present  to  resign,  yet 
perhaps  this  campaign  will  be  the  last.  1  am  determined  to  con- 
tribute my  mite  to  the  defence  of  the  country,  in  spite  of  every 

These  officers  neither  resigned  nor  made  the  required 
apology ;  and  Congress  having  decided  not  to  ratify  Mr. 
Deane's  engagement,  the  difficulty  was  removed.  Wash- 
ington had  written  to  the  President  of  Congress  and  to 
Mr.  R.  H.  Lee,  a  member  of  that  body,  that  the  appoint- 
ment of  Ducoudray  would  cause  the  retirement  of  General 
Knox,  "  one  of  the  most  valuable  officers  in  the  service, 
and  who,  combating  almost  innumerable  difficulties  in  the 
department  he  fills,  has  placed  the  artillery  upon  a  footing 
that  does  him  the  greatest  honor;  "  and  he  further  charac- 
terizes him  as  '"  a  man  of  great  military  reading,  sound 
judgment,  and  clear  conceptions." 

The  opening  movements  of  Sir  William  Howe's  cam- 
paign for  the  acquisition  of  Philadelphia  are  thus  described 
in  Knox's  letter  to  his  intimate  friend  and  life-long  corre- 
spondent, Harry  Jackson,  at  Boston  :  — 

"  Camp  Middlebrook,  21  June,  1777. 
"  General  Howe  on  the  14th  put  his  whole  army  in  motion,     lie 
had  for  a  long  time  past  been  collecting  his  force  from  Rhode  Island, 

44  LIFE    OF    HENRY    KNOX. 

New  York,  Staten  Island,  &c.  The  boats  upon  which  he  designed 
to  cross  the  Delaware  as  a  bridge  were  fixed  on  wagons,  besides 
which  he  had  a  large  number  [of]  flat-bottom  boats  fixed  on  wag- 
ons to  transport  to  the  Delaware.  These  boats  with  the  necessary 
apparatus,  wagons  to  convey  the  baggage  and  the  ammunition 
wagons,  &c,  swelled  the  number  of  his  wagons  to  perhaps  1,000 
or  1,100,  a  great  incumbrance  to  an  army  not  very  numerous.  As 
I  have  before  written,  our  position  was  exceeding  good,  and  while 
we  continued  on  it  the  passage  to  the  Delaware  would  be  rendered 
extremely  precarious,  and  to  attack  us  in  camp  was  an  event  much 
to  be  wished.  However,  something  v\as  to  be  done.  General  Sul- 
livan was  posted  at  Princeton,  with  a  force  pretty  respectable  iu 
itself,  but  not  sufficient  to  stop  General  Howe's  army ;  and  he  might 
by  a  forced  march  push  a  column  between  Princeton  and  us,  and 
cut  off  General  Sullivan's  communications  at  least ;  but,  our  intel- 
ligence being  pretty  good,  the  general  directed  Sullivan  to  take 
post  about  four  miles  from  Princeton,  in  such  a  manner  that  the 
surrounding  him  would  be  impracticable.  We  also  had  a  party  at 
Milstone,  as  a  cover  for  the  ammunition  to  Princeton.  This  was  a 
dangerous  post  from  its  proximity  to  the  enemy,  but  rendered  less 
so  by  the  extreme  vigilance  which  we  recommended,  and  which  the 
officer  commanding  particularly  obeyed.  Matters  were  thus  sit- 
uated on  the  morning  of  the  14th,  when  we  discovered  that  the 
party  at  Milstone  was  attacked.  Support  was  immediately  sent  to 
cover  the  retreat  of  the  party,  when  it  was  discovered  to  be  the 
enemy's  main  body,  as  the  same  body  of  observation  posted  there 
were  obliged  to  retreat  'pretty  quick.'  The  enemy  took  position. 
Our  whole  army  was  immediately  ordered  under  arms,  ready  to  be 
put  in  motion  ;  but  the  conduct  of  the  enemy  rendered  it  unnec- 
essary, for  instead  of  immediately  pushing  for  the  Delaware,  distant 
about  twenty-five  miles,  or  attacking  General  Sullivan,  he  set  down 
on  the  ground  and  instantly  began  to  fortify  in  a  very  strong  posi- 
tion ;  but  it  was  not  till  the  next  day  that  we  discovered  their 
works.  Their  conduct  was  perplexing.  It  was  unaccountable  that 
people  who  the  day  before  gave  out  in  very  gasconading  terms  that 
they  would  be  in  Philadelphia  in  six  days  should  stop  short  when 
they  had  gone  only  nine  miles.  The  intelligence  was  pretty  good 
with  respect  to  their  designs,  yet  it  was  too  imperfect  with  respect 
to  their  numbers  to  warrant  an  attack  on  troops  so  well  disciplined, 


and  posted  as  they  were.  We  also  in  the  course  of  a  day  or  two 
discovered  that  they  had  not  moved  with  any  baggage,  even  tents 
and  the  most  necessary,  but  had  come  out  with  an  intention  of 
drawing  us  into  the  plain  ;  had  left  their  immense  number  of  wag- 
ons behind  them,  but  even  in  this  kind  of  ostentatious  challenge 
they  omitted  not  one  precaution  for  their  own  safety.  They  had 
Brunswick  and  the  Raritan  River  on  their  right,  secured  by  eight  or 
ten  strong  redoubts.  At  Brunswick  the  Raritan  bends,  and  runs  a 
little  way  north,  and  then  turns  nearly  west.  This  they  had  in  their 
front  secured  by  strong  redoubts  at  Middlebrook.  Their  left  was 
secured  by  the  river  Milstone,  which  empties  itself  into  the  Raritan 
near  Bound  Brook :  from  their  right  to  left  was  about  eight  miles. 

"In  this  situation  they  continued  until  early  in  the  morning  of  the 
19th,  continually  at  work  throwing  up  redoubts.  We  had  a  large 
body  of  riflemen,  under  Colonel  Morgan,  perpetually  making  inroads 
upon  them,  attacking  their  pickets,  killing  their  light-horse ;  and 
beset  them  in  such  a  manner,  assisted  by  the  militia,  that  Mr.  Howe, 
instead  of  inarching  to  Philadelphia,  found  himself  almost  block- 
aded in  an  open  flat  country.  Nothing  could  exceed  the  spirit 
shown  on  this  occasion  by  the  much  injured  people  of  the  Jerseys. 
Not  an  atom  of  the  lethargic  spirit  that  possessed  them  last  winter, 
—  all  fire,  all  revenge.  The  militia  of  Pennsylvania  likewise  turned 
out  universally,  so  that  had  Sir  William  put  his  attempt  into  exe- 
cution, we  should  probably  had  twenty-five  or  thirty  thousand 
militia  upon  his  back,  besides  the  most  respectable  body  of  conti- 
nental troops  that  ever  were  in  America. 

"  These  things  being  fully  represented  to  General  Howe,  he 
thought  it  proper  to  take  himself  and  light  army  back  to  Brunswick 
again,  and  accordingly  marched  about  one  o'clock  in  the  morning 
of  the  19th,  without  beat  of  drum  or  sound  of  fife.  When  his  army 
had  gotten  beyond  the  reach  of  pursuit,  they  began  to  burn,  plunder, 
and  waste  all  before  them.  The  desolation  they  committed  was 
horrid,  and  served  to  show  the  malice  which  marks  their  conduct. 

"  The  militia,  light-horse,  and  riflemen  exhibited  the  greatest  marks 
of  valor,  frequently  taking  prisoners  within  two  hundred  yards  of 
their  encampment.  Their  loss  must  be  at  least  one  hundred  killed 
and  wounded  and  taken  prisoners,  among  whom  are  two  lieuten- 
ants of  grenadiers  of  the  55th,  and  a  cornet  of  light-horse,  and  a 
number  killed,  two  sergeants  taken.     This  little  march  of  General 



Howe's  fully  proves  that  no  people  or  country  can  be  permanently 
conquered  where  the  inhabitants  are  unanimous  in  opposition. 

"  What  his  next  manoeuvres  may  be  I  can't  say,  but  we  suppose 
the  North  River ;  there  I  believe  he  will  be  also  disgraced.  The 
motive  for  belief  that  the  North  River  will  be  the  scene  of  his 
operations  is,  that  intelligence  is  received  that  Mr.  Burgoyne  is 
about  crossing  the  lakes  to  Ticonderoga,  and  General  Howe  must 
make  an  attempt  to  push  for  a  junction.  The  enemy  from  all 
appearances  and  advices  are  upon  the  eve  of  evacuating  the  Jer- 
seys. Times  are  much  altered  for  them  from  last  fall.  The  people 
are  unanimous  in  opposing  them :  just  now  four  thousand  marched 
off  to  harass  the  enemy ;  as  many  more  will  go  down  towards 
Brunswick  this  afternoon." 

The  subsequent  events  of  the  campaign  of  1777  in  the 
vicinity  of  Philadelphia  are  detailed  by  Knox  in  the  fol- 
lowing letters  to  his  wife  and  others  of  his  correspondents 
at  Boston:  — 

TO    MRS.    KNOX. 

"  Beverhout,  8  miles  north  of  Morristown, 
26th  July,  1777. 

"  General  Howe  has  sailed  from  the  Hook,  we  suppose  for  Phila- 
delphia, therefore  we  are  now  marching  that  way.  If  he  is  not 
going  [there],  then  Boston  must  be  his  object.  We  intercepted  a 
letter  from  him  to  General  Burgoyne,  purporting  that  the  expedition 
up  the  North  River  is  given  up  for  one  to  Boston.  This  letter  was 
designed  to  fall  in  our  hands,  in  order  to  deceive.  We  suppose  he 
will  be  at  Philadelphia  near  as  soon  as  we :  we  are  now  four  days' 
march  from  it.  Upon  the  whole,  I  know  he  ought,  in  justice  to 
his  master,  to  go  either  up  the  North  River  or  the  eastward,  and 
endeavor  to  form  a  junction  with  Burgoyne:  therefore  (if  he  is  not 
a  fool)  he  will  operate  accordingly ;  but  we  are  bound  to  Philadel- 
phia upon  this  supposition,  and  it's  very  reasonable." 

"Derby,  7  miles  below  Philadelphia, 
25th  Aug.  1777. 

"  The  army  yesterday  marched  through  the  city  of  Philadelphia. 
Their  excellent  appearance  and  marching  astonished  the  Tories, 
who  are  very  downcast  on  the  respectability  of  the  army.     I  was  so 

HOWE  LANDS  AT  THE  HEAD  OF  ELK.       47 

unhappy  as  to  be  absent  at  this  time.  General  Greene  and  myself 
begged  the  favor  of  his  Excellency's  permission  to  pay  a  visit  to 
Bethlehem,  distant  about  forty  miles,  to  purchase  some  things  for  my 
dear,  dear  Lucy.  The  weather  was  extremely  hot,  and  we  set  out 
at  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  and  arrived  next  morning  at  nine. 
An  express  from  the  general  was  waiting  for  us,  with  orders  to 
return  immediately:  he  had  rode  all  night.  However,  we  first 
visited  all  parts  of  this  singularly  happy  place,  where  all  the  inhabi- 
tants seem  to  vie  with  each  other  in  humility  and  brotherly  kind- 
ness. We  joined  the  army,  after  a  most  fatiguing  jaunt  of  a  hundred 
miles  yesterday,  about  an  hour  after  they  had  passed  through  Phila- 

"Wilmington,  Del.,  1  Sept.  1777. 
"  The  enemy  have  landed  at  the  head  of  Elk,  in  Maryland,  about 
twenty  miles  from  this.  Whether  they  intend  to  advance  or  not  is  at 
present  uncertain.  We  shall  remain  here  a  few  days ;  and  if  they 
will  not  come  to  us,  we  shall  go  to  them.  It  is  supposed  the  enemy 
intend  for  Philadelphia ;  if  so,  they  will  meet  with  a  stout  opposi- 
tion. I  am  at  this  moment  president  of  a  court-martial  to  try  an 
officer  of  General  Howe  for  recruiting  in  the  Jerseys." 

"  Camp  near  Schuylkill,  13  Sept.  1777. 

"  My  dear  girl  will  be  happy  to  hear  of  her  Harry's  safety ;  for, 
my  Lucy,  Heaven,  who  is  our  guide,  has  protected  him  in  the  day 
of  battle.  You  will  hear  with  this  letter  of  the  most  severe  action 
that  has  been  fought  this  war  between  our  army  and  the  enemy. 
Our  people  behaved  well,  but  Heaven  frowned  on  us  in  a  degree. 
We  were  obliged  to  retire  after  very  considerable  slaughter  of  the 
enemy :  they  dared  not  pursue  a  single  step.  If  they  advance,  we 
shall  fight  them  again  before  they  get  possession  of  Philadelphia ; 
but  of  this  they  will  be  cautious.  My  corps  did  me  great  honor :  they 
behaved  like  men  contending  for  every  thing  that's  valuable."  * 

*  "  The  regiment  of  artillery  with  their  general  behaved  with  their  usual 
coolness  and  intrepidity.  Some  of  them  could  scarce  be  prevailed  on  to  quit 
their  guns,  even  when  surrounded  by  the  enemy  and  forsaken  by  our  in- 
fantry. The  Boston  boys  did  themselves  great  honor.  I  rode  up  to  Captain 
Allen  in  the  beginning  of  the  action.  Young  Cooper  was  with  him  at  the 
same  gun,  and  a  number  of  our  Boston  lads  :  they  seemed  in  high  spirits."  — 
Extract  of  a  Letter  from  a  gentleman  of  distinction  in  Philadelphia,  Ind.  Chronicle, 
2  Oct.  1777 


We  insert  here  the  account  of  the  battle  of  Brandy- 
wine,  written  by  Knox  to  the  President  of  the  Council  of 

Massachusetts :  — 

"  Camp  near  Schuylkill,  13th  Sept.  1777. 

"  Sir, —  I  do  myself  the  honor  to  transmit  to  you  an  account  of 
an  action  which  happened  between  the  American  and  the  British 
troops,  the  11th  instant,  on  the  heights  of  Brandywine. 

"  Brandywine  is  a  creek  which  empties  itself  into  the  Delaware, 
near  Wilmington,  about  thirty  miles  from  Philadelphia.  On  the  9th 
instant  our  army  took  post  about  eleven  miles  up  this  creek,  having  it 
in  front  at  a  place  called  Chad's  Ford,  that  being  the  most  probable 
route  by  which  the  enemy  would  endeavor  to  pass  to  Philadelphia. 
The  enemy  on  the  10th  advanced  to  Kennet  Square,  within  three 
miles  of  our  advanced  parties,  and  at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning  of 
the  11th  a  considerable  body  of  their  army  appeared  opposite  to  us. 
Immediately  a  heavy  cannonade  commenced,  and  lasted  with  spirit 
for  above  two  hours,  and  more  or  less  the  whole  day.  Our  advanced 
light  corps,  under  General  Maxwell,  engaged  the  advanced  parties 
of  the  enemy  on  the  other  side  of  the  creek  with  success,  having 
twice  repulsed  them,  and  entirely  dispersed  a  body  of  300  Hessians. 
This  light  corps  was  engaged  with  their  advanced  parties  almost, 
through  the  day.  At  the  same  time  this  body  advanced  opposite  to 
our  army,  another  large  column,  consisting  of  the  British  and  Hes- 
sian grenadiers,  light  infantry,  and  some  brigades,  took  a  circuitous 
route  of  six  miles  to  our  right,  and  crossed  the  creeks  at  the  forks 
of  Brandywine.  His  Excellency  General  Washington,  notwith- 
standing his  utmost  exertions  to  obtain  intelligence,  had  very  con- 
tradictory accounts  of  the  numbers  and  destination  of  this  column 
until  it  had  crossed  the  creek  six  miles  to  our  right.  He  imme- 
diately ordered  General  Sullivan's,  Lord  Stirling's,  and  General 
Stephen's  divisions  to  advance  and  attack  them.  This  was  about 
three  o'clock  p.m.  These  divisions,  having  advanced  about  three 
miles,  fell  in  with  the  enemy,  who  were  also  advancing.  Both  sides 
pushed  for  a  hill  situated  in  the  middle. 

"The  contest  became  exceedingly  severe,  and  lasted  without 
intermission  for  an  hour  and  a  half,  when  our  troops  began  to  give 
way,  having  many  of  them  expended  all  their  cartridges. 

"  His  Excellency,  who  in  the  beginning  of  this  action  galloped  to 


the  right,  ordered  Greene's  division  and  Nash's  brigade  from  the 
left ;  but,  the  distance  being  so  great,  the  other  divisions  had  retreated 
before  they  arrived.  However,  they  formed,  and  were  of  the  utmost 
service  in  covering  the  retreat  of  the  other  divisions,  particularly 
Weedon's  brigade  of  Greene's  division,  which  behaved  to  admiration 
in  an  excessive  hot  fire,  checked  the  British  grenadiers,  and  finally, 
after  dark,  came  off  in  great  order.* 

"  While  this  scene  was  acting  on  the  right,  the  enemy  opened  a 
battery  on  the  left  of  seven  pieces  of  cannon  opposite  to  one  of  ours 
of  the  same  number.  General  Wayne,  with  a  division  of  the  Penn- 
sylvania troops,  having  Maxwell's  light  corps  on  his  left,  and 
Nash's  brigade  (which  was  afterward  drawn  off  to  support  the  right 
wing)  on  his  right,  formed  the  left  wing.  The  enemy's  batteries 
and  ours  kept  up  an  incessant  cannonade,  and  formed  such  a  column 
of  smoke  that  the  British  troops  passed  the  creek  un perceived  on 
the  right  of  the  battery,  on  the  ground  which  was  left  unoccupied 
by  the  withdrawal  of  Nash's  brigade. 

"  A  very  severe  action  immediately  commenced  between  General 
Wayne  and  the  enemy,  who  had  now  got  possession  of  a  height 
opposite  to  him.  They  made  several  efforts  to  pass  the  low  grounds 
between  them,  and  were  as  frequently  repulsed.  Night  coming  on, 
his  Excellency  the  General  gave  orders  for  a  retreat,  which  was 
regularly  effected  without  the  least  attempt  of  the  enemy  to  pursue. 
Our  troops  that  night  retired  to  Chester,  and  will  now  take  post  in 
such  a  manner  as  best  to  cover  Philadelphia. 

"  It  is  difficult  at  present  to  ascertain  our  loss  ;  but,  from  the  most 
particular  inquiry  I  have  been  able  to  make,  it  will  not  exceed  seven 
hundred  or  eight  hundred  killed,  wounded,  and  missing,  and  ten 

*  In  a  letter  to  Rev.  Dr.  Gordon,  then  about  leaving  for  England,  where 
his  History  of  the  American  Revolution  was  to  be  published,  Knox,  under 
date  of  New  York,  11th  March,  1786,  gives  the  composition  of  Weedon's 
brigade,  which  behaved  with  conspicuous  gallantry  at  Brandy  wine.  In  it 
were  Colonel  Walter  Stewart's  Pennsylvania  regiment,  and  the  Virginia 
regiments  of  Colonel  Spotswood  (3d),  Lieutenant-Colonel  Hendricks  (6th), 
Colonel  Ed.  Stevens  (10th),  and  (14th)  Colonel  Lewis,  who  was  afterward 
wounded  at  Guilford,  where  he  commanded  a  brigade  of  militia.  Knox  fur- 
nished the  Doctor  with  other  materials  for  his  work,  and  closes  his  letter 
thus  :  "  I  observe,"  he  says,  "  the  printers  are  exceedingly  angry  with  you 
at  Boston  for  the  intention  of  printing  it  [Gordon's  History]  in  Great  Britain, 
and  some  of  the  squibs  are  republished  here." 


'•  It  is  a  common  practice  in  war  to  diminish  our  own  loss  and 
magnify  that  of  our  enemy ;  but,  from  my  own  observation  and  the 
opinion  of  others,  their  loss  must  be  much  greater  than  ours." 

TO    MRS.    KNOX. 

Pottsgrove,  24  Sept.  1777. 

"  I  wrote  you  on  the  13th.  The  same  day  we  crossed  the  Schuyl- 
kill, in  order  to  try  the  issue  of  another  appeal  to  Him  who  directs 
all  human  events.  After  some  days'  manoeuvring,  we  came  in  sight 
of  the  enemy,  and  drew  up  in  order  of  battle,  which  the  enemy 
declined ;  but  a  most  violent  rain  coming  on  obliged  us  to  change 
our  position,  in  the  course  of  which  nearly  all  the  musket  cartridges 
of  the  army  that  had  been  delivered  to  the  men  were  damaged,  con- 
sisting of  above  400,000.  This  was  a  most  terrible  stroke  to  us, 
and  owing  entirely  to  the  badness  of  the  cartouch-boxes  which  had 
been  provided  for  the  army. 

"  This  unfortunate  event  obliged  us  to  retire,  in  order  to  get 
supplied  with  so  essential  an  article  as  cartridges,  after  which  we 
forded  the  Schuylkill,  in  order  to  be  opposite  to  the  enemy ;  accord- 
ingly we  took  post  at  a  place  called  Flatland  Ford. 

u  A  defensive  war  is  the  most  difficult  to  guard  against,  because 
one  is  always  obliged  to  attend  to  the  feints  of  the  enemy.  To 
defend  an  extensive  river  when  it  is  unfordable  is  almost  impossible  ; 
but  when  fordable  in  every  part,  it  becomes  impracticable.  On  the 
afternoon  of  the  21st  the  enemy  made  a  most  rapid  march  of  ten  or 
twelve  miles  to  our  right:  this  obliged  us  to  follow  them.  They 
kindled  large  fires,  and  in  the  next  night  marched  as  rapidly  back 
and  crossed  at  a  place  where  we  had  few  guards,  and  pushed  towards 
Philadelphia,  and  will  this  morning  enter  the  city  without  opposition. 
We  fought  one  battle  for  it,  and  it  was  no  deficiency  in  bravery  that 
lost  us  the  day.  Philadelphia,  it  seems,  has  been  their  favorite 
object.  Their  shipping  has  not  joined  them  there.  They  will  first 
have  to  raise  the  chevaux  de  frise  in  the  Delaware,  and  defeat  the 
naval  force  there,  which  is  considerable. 

"  The  troops  in  this  excursion  of  ten  days  without  baggage  suffered 
excessive  hardships,  —  without  tents  in  the  rain,  several  marches  of 
all  night,  and  often  without  sufficient  provision.  This  they  endured 
with  the  perseverance  and  patience  of  good  soldiers.  Generals 
Smallwood,  Wayne,  McDougall,  and  a  considerable  body  of  militia, 


will  join  us  to-day  and  to-morrow.  This  day  we  shall  move  towards 
Philadelphia,  in  order  to  try  the  fortune  of  another  battle,  in  which 
we  devoutly  hope  the  blessing  of  Heaven.  I  consider  the  loss  of 
Philadelphia  as  only  temporary,  —  to  be  recovered  when  expedient. 
It  is  no  more  than  the  loss  of  Boston,  nor,  in  my  opinion,  half  so 
much,  when  the  present*  trade  of  the  latter  be  considered.  It  is 
situated  on  a  point  of  land  formed  by  the  rivers  Delaware  and 
Schuylkill,  so  that  it  would  [have]  been  highly  improper  to  have 
thrown  ourselves  into  it. 

"If  the  enemy  do  not  get  their  shipping  up  soon,  and  go  into 
Philadelphia,  they  will  be  in  a  very  ineligible  situation.  I  do  not 
in  the  present  circumstances  consider  Philadelphia  of  so  much  con- 
sequence as  the  loss  of  reputation  to  our  arms ;  but  I  trust  in  God 
we  shall  soon  make  up  that  matter.  Billy*  is  well,  and  undergoes 
the  hardships  of  the  campaign  surprisingly  well,  and  they  are  neither 
few  nor  small." 


"  Camp  at  Metuchin,  20  miles  from  Philadelphia, 
3d  Oct.  77. 
"My  dear  Harry,  —  The  enemy  are  now  encamped  at  Phila- 
delphia and  its  environs  for  about  six  miles.  The  Delaware  frigate 
was  given  up  to  them  in  a  manner  scandalous  to  relate.  The  crew, 
it's  said,  after  they  had  fired  one  broadside  at  a  battery  which  was 
erecting  near  the  city,  ran  her  ashore,  and  gave  her  up  to  the 
Britons.  The  crew  were  principally  foreigners.  Our  army  has  had 
several  reinforcements  of  militia,  &c,  since  the  late  action.  I  hope 
for  better  success  in  the  next ;  and  an  action  we  shall  most  assuredly 
have  before  they  or  we  go  into  winter  quarters." 

*  His  brother  William  had  joined  him  in  July,  as  his  secretary,  and 
behaved  with  spirit  a  few  days  later  at  Germantown. 

t  Jackson  had  been  appointed  colonel  of  one  of  the  additional  continental 
battalions  to  be  raised  in  Massachusetts,  and  numbered  tbe  16th.  He  was 
born  in  Boston  in  1748,  and  died  there  4  Jan.  1809  ;  commissioned  colonel 
12  Jan.  1777 ;  distinguished  at  Monmouth,  in  Sullivan's  Rhode  Island  cam- 
paign, and  at  Springfield,  N.J. ;  and  commanded  tbe  last  body  of  continental 
soldiers  disbanded  in  1784 ;  major-general  first  division  Massachusetts  militia, 
1792-96 ;  and,  as  United  States  agent,  superintended  the  construction  of  the 
frigate  "  Constitution."  Jackson  was  the  intimate  friend  and  correspondent  of 
Knox,  for  whom  he  acted  as  a  business  agent  in  many  important  transactions. 
Many  of  his  letters,  which  are  exceedingly  interesting,  are  preserved  in  the 
Knox  Papers. 


Washington  having  been  reinforced  by  troops  from 
Peekskill  on  the  Hudson,  and  knowing  that  Howe  had 
weakened  his  army  by  detachments  for  the  reduction  of 
the  posts  on  the  Delaware,  resolved  to  attack  his  main 
division  at  Germantown. 

The  following  account  of  the  battle  of  Germantown  was 
written  by  Knox  to  Hon.  Artemas  Ward,  President  of  the 
Council  of  Massachusetts  Bay. 

"Artillery  Park,  Perkeomy  Creek,  Oct.  7,  1777 
(27  miles  from  Philadelphia). 

"  Sir,  —  I  shall  endeavor  to  give  you  a  short  authentic  account 
of  an  attack  made  by  our  army  on  the  British  army,  lying  at  Ger- 
mantown, six  miles  from  Philadelphia,  on  the  morning  of  the  4th 

"At  six  o'clock  on  the  evening  of  the  3d,  the  army,  under  his 
Excellency  General  Washington,  began  their  march  in  four  columns 
on  as  many  roads  towards  the  enemy  ;  the  nearest  column  had  to 
march  fourteen,  and  some  twenty,  miles.  By  marching  all  night, 
the  columns  arrived  a  little  after  break  of  day  [opposite]  to  the 
respective  posts  of  the  enemy  assigned  to  them.  The  attack  com- 
menced by  forcing  their  pickets,  which  were  soon  reinforced  in  front 
by  all  the  light  infantry  of  the  line  and  other  troops.  After  a  smart 
action,  these  were  obliged  to  give  way,  our  troops  pressing  on  with 
great  spirit  and  good  order. 

"  The  different  attacks  being  made  at  the  same  time  distracted 
the  enemy's  attention  so  much,  that  after  about  an  hour's  engage- 
ment they  began  to  give  way  on  every  part ;  but,  most  unfortunately 
for  us,  a  fog  which  had  arisen  about  daybreak  became  so  exces- 
sively thick  from  the  continued  firing  that  it  was  impossible  to 
discover  an  object  at  twenty  yards'  distance. 

"  This  was  the  unhappy  cause  of  our  losing  the  victory  after 
being  in  possession  of  it  for  near  two  hours,  and  having  driven  the 
enemy  above  two  miles  from  the  place  where  the  engagement  begun, 
quite  through  their  encampment.  In  this  unusual  fog  it  was  im- 
possible to  know  how  to  support,  or  what  part  to  push.  At  this 
instant,  the  enemy  again  rallied  and  obliged  part  of  our  troops  to 
retire ;  and  after  a  smart  resistance,  the  retreat  of  the  line  became 


general.  The  enemy  followed  with  caution,  and  we  came  off  with- 
out the  loss  of  a  single  piece  of  cannon  or  any  thing  else,  except 
one  empty  ammunition  wagon,  the  engagement  from  beginning  to 
end  being  about  two  hours  and  forty  minutes. 

u  Our  loss  in  killed,  wounded,  and  missing,  is  not  fully  ascertained, 
but  will  not  exceed  five  hundred  or  six  hundred.  We  had  a  very 
considerable  number  of  officers  of  merit  killed  and  wounded. 
Brigadier-General  Nash,  of  North  Carolina,  mortally  wounded  by  a 
cannon-ball  taking  off  his  thigh. 

"  The  enemy's  loss,  we  hear  from  pretty  good  authority,  is  very 
considerable.  General  Agnew  killed.  Sir  William  Erskine 
wounded.  This  is  the  first  attack  made  during  this  war  by  the 
American  troops  on  the  main  body  of  the  enemy ;  ana"  had  it  not 
been  [for]  the  unlucky  circumstance  of  the  fog,  Philadelphia 
would  probably  have  been  in  our  hands.  It  is  matter  worthy  of 
observation  that  in  most  other  countries  which  have  been  invaded 
one  or  two  battles  have  decided  their  fate  ;  but  America  rises  after 
a  defeat ! 

"  We  were  more  numerous  after  the  battle  of  Brandywine  than 
before,  and  we  have  demonstration  of  being  more  numerous  now 
than  before  the  4th.  Our  men  are  in  the  highest  spirits,  and  ardently 
desire  another  trial.  I  know  of  no  ill  consequences  that  can  follow 
the  late  action ;  on  the  contrary,  we  have  gained  considerable  expe- 
rience, and  our  army  have  a  certain  proof  that  the  British  troops 
are  vulnerable/' 

In  a  letter  to  Mrs.  Knox  he  says :  "  To  tins  cause  [the 
fog],  in  conjunction  with  the  enemy's  taking  possession  of 
some  stone  buildings  in  Germantown,  is  to  be  ascribed  the 
loss  of  the  victory.  We  brought  off  the  greater  part  of 
our  wounded." 

TO    MRS.    KNOX. 

"  Camp,  24  miles  from  Philadelphia,  13th  Oct.  1777. 
..."  I  send  you  this  by  Captain  Randall,  who  has  the  misfor- 
tune to  be  again  made  a  prisoner,  after  being  slightly  wounded  in 
seven  or  eight  places. 

"  The  matter  you  mention  about  rations  cannot  be  complied  with* 



and  I  thank  God  I  have  too  much  reliance  on  his  divine  providence 
to  have  any  of  those  misgivings  and  forebodings  of  which  my  dear 
Lucy  seems  so  apprehensive.  I  trust  the  same  Divine  Being  who 
brought  us  together  will  support  us.  The  enemy  have  not  yet  re- 
duced our  obstacles  in  the  river  Delaware  below  Philadelphia,  and 
consequently  have  not  got  their  shipping  up  to  the  town.  They  have 
made  several  efforts,  but  hitherto  in  vain,  in  one  of  which  we  took 
two  officers  and  fifty-six  privates  prisoners.  If  the  enemy  cannot 
get  their  shipping  up,  Philadelphia  is  one  of  the  most  ineligible 
places  in  the  world  for  an  army  surrounded  by  rivers  which  are 
impassable,  and  an  army  above  them.  We  have  been  pretty  quiet 
since  the  action  of  the  4th ;  but  we  have  yet  tolerable  prospects 
and  hopes  to  winter  in  Philadelphia.  I  mean  our  army ;  for  how- 
ever clouded  the  prospect  may  be,  yet  I  have  sanguine  hopes  of 
being  able  to  live  this  winter  in  sweet  fellowship  with  the  dearest 
friend  of  my  heart.  Ere  you  receive  this,  you  will  receive  the 
account  of  the  loss  of  Fort  Montgomery,  which  I  own  to  you  is  in 
my  opinion  exceedingly  heavy,  but  it  must  stimulate  us  to  make 
greater  exertions.  America  almost  deserves  to  be  made  slaves  for 
her  non-exertions  in  so  important  an  affair.  .  .  .  Observe,  my  dear 
girl,  how  Providence  supports  us.  The  advantages  gained  by  our 
Northern  army  give  almost  a  decisive  turn  to  the  contest.  For  my 
own  part  I  have  not  yet  seen  so  bright  a  dawn  as  the  prospect,  and 
I  am  as  perfectly  convinced  in  my  own  mind  of  the  kindness  of 
Providence  towards  us  as  I  am  of   my  own  existence." 

TO    THE    SAME. 

"  Camp,  10  miles  from  Philadelphia,  Nov.  3,  1777. 
.  .  .  .  "  The  enemy  have  not  yet  been  able  to  drive  our  galleys 
away,  or  storm  or  batter  our  forts  with  success.  We  have  lately 
had  a  storm,  which  has  ruined  their  batteries  and  works  erected 
against  Fort  Mifflin.  Since  they  had  two  men-of-war  burnt  on  the 
23d  in  the  river,  and  were  defeated  the  22d  at  Red  Bank,  they 
have  appeared  quite  silent  in  deeds,  but  not  so  in  words.  They  have 
been  very  angry  for  our  feux  de  joie,  which  we  have  fired  on  the 
several  victories  over  Burgoyne,  and  say  that  by  and  by  [we]  shall 
bring  ourselves  into  contempt  with  our  own  army  for  propagating 
such  known  falsehoods.  Poor  fellows !  nothing  but  Britain  must 


On  the  15th  of  November,  after  the  fall  of  Fort  Mifflin, 
Knox,  with  De  Kalb  and  St.  Clair,  was  sent  to  provide  for 
the  security  of  Red  Bank.  This  post,  known  as  Fort 
Mercer,  fell,  however,  after  a  brave  defence  on  the  18th. 

In  the  council  of  war  on  Oct.  26,  and  again  on  Dec. 
3d,  Knox  opposed  the  project  of  an  attack  on  the  enemy's 
lines  at  Philadelphia,  giving  on  the  day  last  named  these 
reasons  :  "  Our  entire  want  of  clothing ;  the  impossibility 
and  impracticability  of  surprising  10,000  veteran  troops 
in  a  well  fortified  city ;  the  impossibility  of  our  keeping 
the  field  to  besiege  their  works  and  city  regularly,  being 
almost  totally  deficient  in  warlike  apparatus  for  so  arduous 
an  enterprise  ;  and  the  uncertainty  of  obtaining  a  suffi- 
cient number  of  militia  to  warrant  the  enterprise."  He 
proposed  that  the  army  go  into  winter  quarters,  with  the 
right  at  Lancaster  and  the  left  at  Reading,  provided  a 
sufficiency  of  houses  and  good  cover  could  be  had  there  ; 
if  not,  that  it  should  be  hutted  about  thirty  miles  from 
Philadelphia,  near  the  Schuylkill.  The  army  wintered  at 
Valley  Forge,  somewhat  nearer  the  city ;  and  Knox  took 
advantage  of  the  cessation  of  active  operations  to  visit  his 
wife  at  Boston.  A  picture  of  the  privations  of  the  army 
during  this  memorable  winter  is  given  in  the  following 
letter  from  Greene  to  Knox  :  — 

"  Camp,  Valley  Forge,  26th  Feb.  1778. 

"  The  army  has  been  in  great  distress  since  yon  left  it.  The 
troops  are  getting  naked ;  they  were  seven  days  without  meat,  and 
several  days  without  bread.  Such  patience  and  moderation  as 
they  manifested  under  their  sufferings  does  the  highest  honor  to 
the  magnanimity  of  the  American  soldiers.  The  seventh  day  they 
came  before  their  superior  officers,  and  told  their  sufferings  in  as 
respectful  terms  as  if  they  had  been  humble  petitioners  for  special 
favors.  They  added  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  continue  in 
camp  any  longer  without  support.     Happily  relief  arrived  from  the 


little  collections  I  and  some  others  had  made,  and  prevented  the 
army  from  disbanding.  We  are  still  in  danger  of  starving.  Hun- 
dreds of  our  horses  have  already  starved  to  death.  The  committee 
of  Congress  have  seen  all  these  things  with  their  own  eyes.  They 
have  been  urging  me  for  several  days  to  accept  the  quartermaster- 
general's  appointment,  his  Excellency  also  presses  it  upon  me 
exceedingly.  I  hate  the  place,  but  hardly  know  what  to  do.  I  wish 
for  your  advice  in  the  affair,  but  am  obliged  to  determine  imme- 

Mrs.  Knox  arrived  in  camp  at  Valley  Forge  on  May  20, 
1778,  soon  after  the  news  of  the  alliance  with  France  had 
been  received.  She  was  attended  from  New  Haven  by 
General  Arnold,  who  was  of  great  service  to  her  dur- 
ing her  journey,  and  remained  with  the  army  until  it 
was  disbanded. 

At  the  battle  of  Monmouth,  which  occurred  on  June 
28th,  and  of  which  he  ever  after  spoke  with  much  pride, 
Knox  reconnoitred  in  front,  rallying  the  retreat,  and  bring- 
ing up  the  rear  with  a  brisk  fire  from  a  battery  planted  in 
the  night,  directed  by  his  brigade  adjutant,  the  chevalier 
Mauduit  Duplessis.  Of  the  services  of  this  arm,  Wash- 
ington, in  general  orders,  says  he  "  can  with  pleasure 
inform  General  Knox  and  the  officers  of  the  artillery  that 
the  enemy  has  done  them  the  justice  to  acknowledge  that 
no  artillery  could  have  been  better  served  than  ours." 

To  his  brother  and  to  his  wife,  Knox  wrote  the  partic- 
ulars of  this  battle,  and  of  the  events  which  preceded 
it:  — 


Hopewell  Township,  New  Jerset, 

4  o'clock  a.m.,  25th  June,  1778. 

"The  enemy  evacuated  Philadelphia  on  the  19th.  Lucy  and  I 
went  in,  but  it  stunk  so  abominably  that  it  was  impossible  to  stay 
there,  as  was  her  first  design.  The  enemy  are  now  at  Allen  Town, 
about  ten  miles  southeast  of  Princeton,  and  we  are  at  about   six 


miles  north  [of]  Princeton,  so  that  the  two  armies  are  now 
about  nineteen  or  twenty  miles  apart.  We  are  now  on  the  march 
towards  them,  and  their  movements  this  day  will  determine  whether 
we  shall  come  in  close  contact  with  each  other.  We  have  now  very 
numerous  parties  harassing  and  teasing  them  on  all  quarters. 
Desertion  prevails  exceedingly  in  their  army,  especially  among  the 
Germans.  Above  three  hundred  German  and  English  have  de- 
serted since  they  left  Philadelphia.  Had  we  a  sufficiency  of  num- 
bers, we  should  be  able  to  force  them  to  a  similar  treaty  with 
Burgoyne  ;  but,  at  present,  have  not  quite  such  sanguine  hopes. 
If  general  actions  had  no  other  consequences  than  merely  the  killed 
and  wounded,  we  should  attack  them  in  twenty-four  hours.  But 
the  fate  of  posterity,  and  not  the  illusive  brilliancy  of  military  glory, 
governs  our  Fabian  commander,  the  man  [to  whom],  under  God, 
America  owes  her  present  prospects  of  peace  and  happiness." 

TO    MRS.    KNOX. 

"  June  29,  near  Monmouth  Court  House. 

"My  dearest  Love,  —  I  wrote  you  some  few  days  ago  that  a 
day  or  two  would  determine  whether  we  should  have  an  engage- 
ment with  the  Britons.  Yesterday,  at  about  nine  o'clock  a.m.,  our 
advanced  parties  under  General  Lee  attacked  their  rear  while  on 
the  march  towards  Shrewsbury,  upon  which  their  whole  army, 
except  the  Hessians,  came  to  the  right  about;  and,  after  some  fight- 
ing, obliged  him  to  retire  to  the  main  army,  which  was  about  two 
miles  distant.  The  enemy  advanced  with  great  spirit  to  the  attack, 
and  began  a  very  brisk  cannonade  on  us,  who  were  formed  to 
receive  them. 

"  The  cannonade  lasted  from  about  eleven  until  six  o'clock,  at 
which  time  the  enemy  began  to  retire  on  all  quarters,  and  left  us 
in  possession  of  the  field.  We  have  had  several  field  officers  killed, 
and  a  considerable  number  of  others.  Colonel  Ramsay,  Mrs.  Ram- 
say's husband,  was  taken  prisoner,  and  this  morning  released  on 
his  parole.  I  have  had  several  officers  killed  and  wounded.  My 
brave  lads  behaved  with  their  usual  intrepidity,  and  the  army  gave 
the  corp^  of  artillery  their  full  proportion  of  the  glory  of  the  day. 

"  Indeed,  upon  the  whole,  it  is  very  splendid.  The  capital  army 
of  Britain  defeated  and  obliged  to  retreat  before  the   Americans, 


whom  they  despised  so  much  !  I  cannot  ascertain  either  our  or  the 
enemy's  loss,  but  I  really  think  they  have  lost  three  times  the 
number  we  have.  I  judge  from  the  field  of  battle,  which,  to  be  sure, 
is  a  field  of  carnage  and  blood  :  three  to  one  of  the  British  forces 
lie  there.  The  Britons  confess  they  have  never  received  so  severe 
a  check.  The  enemy  took  a  strong  post,  about  a  mile  from  the 
place  of  action,  to  dislodge  them  from  which,  as  it  was  dark,  would 
cost  too  many  men,  and  by  which  they  covered  the  retreat  of  their 
army.  After  having  been  fighting  all  day,  and  one  of  the  hottest 
I  ever  felt,  they  decamped  in  the  night  and  marched  off  with  the 
utmost  precipitation,  leaving  a  great  number  of  their  wounded, 
both  officers  and  men,  in  our  hands.  We  have  sent  out  large  bodies 
in  pursuit,  but  I  believe  they  will  not  be  able  to  come  up  with  the 
main  body.  .  .  .  The  number  of  deserters,  since  they  left  Phila- 
delphia, must  exceed  eight  hundred.  The  march  has  proved  to 
them  a  most  destructive  one,  and  is  very  ill-calculated  to  give  Sir 
II.  Clinton  any  eclat.  He  may  storm  Fort  Montgomery,  but  is 
very  ill-calculated,  in  my  opinion,  to  be  at  the  head  of  a  large 

"  My  friend,  Harry  [Jackson],  crossed  over  from  Philadelphia, 
and  was  in  the  unfortunate  [«.e.,  early]  part  of  the  day.  I  saw  him 
once  on  the  field,  for  a  moment :  he  appeared  much  fatigued.  His 
regiment  had  a  few  killed  and  wounded,  and  is  reported  to  have 
behaved  well." 


"  Camp  Brunswick,  3d  July,  1778. 

..."  The  enemy  inclined  more  to  their  right  than  we  expected, 
and  took  the  road  to  Sandy  Hook,  instead  of  the  supposed  one  to 
South  Amboy. 

"  A  body  of  Jersey  militia,  amounting  to  near  2,000,  had  en- 
deavored to  retard  them,  by  taking  up  the  bridges,  felling  trees,  and 
harassing  their  flanks  and  rear.  Beside  these,  his  Excellency 
General  Washington  had  detached  several  large  bodies  for  the  same 
purpose,  all  of  which,  except  Colonel  Morgan,  were,  on  the  28th  ult., 
united  under  General  Lee,  who  early  on  that  morning  advanced  to 
Monmouth  Court  House  with  the  intention  of  attacking  the  cover- 
ing party  by  left  flank,  the  main  army  moving  on  at  the  same  time 
to  support  him,  although  it  was  some  miles  in  the  rear.     The  parties 


under  General  Lee,  instead  of  finding  a  covering  party  as  was 
expected,  found  their  whole  army  or  the  greater  part  of  it.  After 
some  manoeuvring,  cannonading,  and  some  other  circumstances, 
which  are  not  yet  sufficiently  explained,  it  was  thought  proper  by 
General  Lee  to  retire  until  it  met  the  main  army,  which  it  effected 
without  much  loss.  The  army  was  drawn  up  on  advantageous 
ground  to  receive  the  enemy,  who  advanced  to  the  attack  with 
considerable  impetuosity,  and  began  a  brisk  cannonade,  which  was 
returned  with  becoming  spirit.  The  action  of  the  musketry  was 
various,  and  with  intermissions  until  about  six  o'clock,  when  we 
pushed  the  enemy  off  the  field.  .  .  .  Their  whole  loss  may  amount 
to  about  ten  or  twelve  hundred  killed,  wounded,  and  prisoners.  His 
Excellency,  the  General,  has  done  the  corps  of  artillery  and  me  the 
honor  to  notice  us  in  general  orders  in  very  pointed  and  flattering 
terms.  Indeed,  I  was  highly  delighted  with  their  coolness,  bravery, 
and  good  conduct.  The  effects  of  the  Battle  of  Monmouth  will  be 
great  and  lasting.  It  will  convince  the  enemy  and  the  world  that 
nothing  but  a  good  constitution  is  wanting  to  render  our  army  equal 
to  any  in  the  world." 

From  letters  to  his  brother  at  various  times  we  extract 
as  follows :  — 

"  Camp,  White  Plains,  14th  Sept.  1778. 
..."  We  wish  to  know  where  Lord  Howe  is,  as  it  might  be 
some  clew  to  the  designs  of  the  enemy ;  though  as  to  dangerous  de- 
signs, they  have  none,  I  am  persuaded,  nor  never  had,  except  to 
themselves.  It  is  improper  for  a  person  in  my  station  to  speak 
thus,  were  it  to  be  divulged;  but  I  do  not  believe  there  ever  was 
a  set  of  men  so  perfectly  disqualified,  by  a  total  and  profound 
ignorance  of  every  thing  that  ought  to  constitute  the  characters  of 
leaders  of  an  army  to  conquest.  I  beg  you  not  to  imagine  that  by 
depreciation  of  their  abilities  I  mean  to  exalt  our  own.  God  forbid  ! 
I  shall  say  nothing  about  it  but  only  this,  that  we  never  set  our- 
selves up  as  great  military  men.  I  believe  they  [the  enemy]  are 
about  to  quit  the  continent,  and  perhaps  only  wait  for  their  last 
orders  to  effect  it." 


"  Philadelphia,  3  Feb.  1779. 
..."  We  are  in  great  want  of  lead.  The  Board  of  War  have 
desired  me  to  write  to  Boston  to  inquire  what  quantity  can  be 
gotten  there  and  at  the  neighboring  towns,  and  at  what  price.  I 
wish  you  to  make  the  inquiry,  or  rather  to  get  some  person  to  make 
it  for  you,  as  the  gentlemen  speculators  may  suspect  from  your  con- 
nection that  you  want  it  for  the  public,  and  advance  their  prices  in 
proportion.  Write  me  the  result  speedily  as  possible,  so  that  I  may 
communicate  it  to  the  board.  ...  I  am  glad  you  have  gotten  into 
the  old  store.  I  thank  you  for  the  little  pamphlet.  The  girls  are 
the  same  everywhere,  —  at  least  some  of  them  :  they  love  a  red 
coat  dearly.  Arnold  is  going  to  be  married  to  a  beautiful  and 
accomplished  young  lady,  —  a  Miss  Shippen,  of  one  of  the  best 
families  in  this  place." 

"Feb.  13. 
..."  You  will  see  in  the  papers  some  highly  colored  charges 
against  General  Arnold,  by  the  State  of  Pennsylvania.  I  shall 
be  exceedingly  mistaken  if  one  of  them  can  be  proven.  He  has 
returned  to  Philadelphia,  and  will,  I  hope,  be  able  to  vindicate 
himself  from  the  aspersions  of  his  enemies." 

"  Pluckemin,  28  Feb.  1779. 
..."  You  wish  to  know  my  business  to  Philadelphia.  It  was 
merely  to  get  the  ordnance  department  better  regulated.  Besides 
the  satisfaction  of  having  the  business  of  the  public  done  better, 
the  only  advantage  that  will  result  to  me  will  be  some  pay  expressly 
for  the  management  of  the  ordnance  department  in  the  field.  I 
undoubtedly  might  have  at  first  stipulated  for  some  pecuniary  ad- 
vantages for  myself;  but  I  know  not  how  it  is,  I  do  not  approve  of 
money  obtained  in  the  public  service :  it  does  not  appear  to  me,  in 
a  war  like  ours,  to  be  right,  and  I  cannot  bring  myself  to  think 
differently,  although  poverty  may  be  the  consequence.  We  had  at 
the  Park  [of  artillery],  on  the  18th,  a  most  genteel  entertainment 
given  by  self  and  officers.  Everybody  allowed  it  to  be  the  first  of 
the  kind  ever  exhibited  in  this  State  at  least.  We  had  about 
seventy  ladies,  all  of  the  first  ton  in  the  State,  and  between  three 
and  four  hundred  gentlemen.     We  danced  all  night,  —  an  elegant 


room.     The  illuminating,  fireworks,  &c.,  were  more  than  pretty.     It 
was  to  celebrate  the  alliance  between  France  and  America." 

"  March  13. 
"I  am  sorry  for  the  loss  of  the  vessel  you  mention,  but  not  dis- 
couraged. I  hope  the  little  vessel  will  at  least  make  up  for  her. 
I  wrote  to  you  to  try  something,  by  way  of  adventure,  in  the 
1  General  Arnold.'  She  is  a  good  vessel  and  commander.  ...  I 
am  exceedingly  anxious  to  effect  something  in  these  fluctuating 
times,  which  may  make  us  lazy  for  life.  You  know  my  sentiments 
with  respect  to  making  any  thing  out  of  the  public.  I  abominate 
the  idea.  I  could  not,  at  the  end  of  the  war,  mix  with  my  fellow- 
citizens  with  that  conscious  integrity,  the  felicity  of  which  I  often 

Knox  seems  to  have  been  unfortunate  in  his  privateer- 
ing speculations,  vessel  after  vessel  in  which  he  had  a 
share  being  captured  by  the  enemjr,  some  of  them  with 
valuable  cargoes  and  just  as  they  were  entering  port. 

"  Pluckemin,  N.J.,  7  May,  1779. 
"  If  we  are  to  believe  Rivington's  paper  of  May  1,  we  are  to  have 
bloody  work  this  summer.  They  swear  by  monstrous  big  oaths  they 
will  exterminate  us  this  campaign.  However  that  may  be,  we  at 
present  have  but  little  apprehensions  of  it,  although,  from  a  variety 
of  corroborating  circumstances,  we  expect  we  shall  have  a  much 
more  active  campaign  than  the  last." 

In  a  later  letter  he  says :  — 

"The  whole  army  have  moved  up  to  this  place  [Middlebrook] 
to  cover  the  almost  infinitely  important  posts  in  the  highlands, 
which  we  do  in  so  effectual  a  manner  that,  were  the  enemy  much 
stronger  than  they  are,  I  should  be  in  no  pain  for  the  safety  of  the 
posts.  The  enemy  have  established  themselves  so  securely  at 
King's  Ferry  that  we  shall  not  be  able  to  dislodge  them  at  present. 
Perhaps  a  future  and  more  important  operation  may  involve  the 
posts  at  King's  Ferry  in  its  fall.  The  enemy  expect  reinforce- 
ments, and  we,  with  the  blessing  of  Heaven,  expect  to  baffle  their 
utmost  efforts.  We  expect  every  thing  from  the  discipline  and  good- 
ness of  our  troops  ;  but  probably  we  shall  want  some  assistance  from 
our  brethren." 



Of  the  warmth  of  Knox's  affection  for  his  friend  Gen- 
eral Lincoln,  his  letters  give  ample  evidence.  Here  is  an 
extract  from  one  written  just  after  the  capture  of  Charles- 
ton by  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  where  Lincoln  and  his  army 
became  prisoners. 

"  The  great  defence  made  by  you  and  your  garrison  in  field  for- 
tifications will  confer  on  you  and  them  the  esteem  and  admiration 
of  every  sensible  military  man.  I  hope  and  believe  that  Congress 
will  most  unequivocally  bestow  that  applause  which  you  have  so 
richly  merited.  No  event,  except  the  capture  of  Sir  II.  Clinton 
and  his  army,  would  give  me  more  pleasure  than  to  see  you.  He 
is  now  in  force  at  Springfield,  below  Morristown." 

And  at  a  later  period  he  writes :  — 

"  The  first  moment  I  had  the  happiness  of  being  acquainted  with 
you  I  conceived  a  high  degree  of  friendship,  which  uniformly  has 
increased  as  I  became  more  intimate,  until  the  present  period.  I 
consider  the  confidential  manner  in  which  we  have  indulged  as  one 
of  the  happy  circumstances  of  my  life,  and  in  all  events  of  grief  or 
joy  there  is  no  man  from  whose  friendship  I  should  more  readily 
expect  the  most  cordial  balsam,  or  whose  bosom  would  more  cheer- 
fully expand  in  a  participation  of  my  happiness." 

The  French  army  under  the  Count  de  Rochambeau,  des- 
tined to  co-operate  with  the  Americans,  arrived  at  Newport 
in  July,  1780 ;  and  on  Sept.  21st,  Knox,  with  Washington 
and  La  Fayette,  visited  the  French  general  and  admiral,  de 
Ternay,  at  Hartford,  to  concert  the  details  of  a  plan  of 
operations.  ,  While  returning  from  this  meeting,  they 
heard  of  Arnold's  treason,  and  immediately  hastened  to 
West  Point. 

Knox  was  one  of  the  board  of  general  officers  which 
tried  and  condemned  Major  Andre  to  death  as  a  spy,  a 
sentence  which  the  usages  of  war  compelled  them  to  pro- 
nounce, but  which  was  especially  distasteful  to  him  since 


that  chance  meeting  on  Lake  George,  narrated  on  a  pre- 
vious page,  when  they  had  made  each  other's  acquaintance 
under  such  peculiar  circumstances. 

In  the  latter  part  of  November,  the  Chevalier  de  Chas- 
tellux,  a  major-general  in  Rochambeau's  army  and  a  mem- 
ber of  the  French  Academy,  visited  the  American  camp 
at  New  Windsor.  From  his  Travels,  published  a  few  years 
later,,  we  extract  the  following  interesting  particulars  of 
this  visit. 

In  the  morning  while  at  breakfast,  horses  were  brought 
and  orders  given  for  the  men  to  get  under  arms,  and  the 
chevalier  and  Washington  repaired  to  the  camp,  where 
they  were  received  by  General  Knox  at  the  head  of  his 
artillery.  This  was  exhibited  in  fine  order,  formed  in  the 
foreign  manner,  each  gunner  at  his  post  ready  to  fire. 
Knox  politely  apologized  for  not  firing  a  salute,  on  account 
of  the  troops  on  the  other  side  of  the  river,  which  had 
been  put  in  motion  by  a  previous  order,  and  whom  he  was 
afraid  of  giving  some  alarm. 

Returning  from  a  subsequent  tour  to  visit  the  general 
officers  of  the  line  at  their  respective  quarters  with  La 
Fayette,  they  met  with  Knox,  who  brought  them  back  to 
head-quarters  by  the  nearest  way  through  a  wood,  where 
they  fell  into  a  road  leading  to  his  retired  residence.  This 
was  a  little  rural  spot  where  Mrs.  Knox  had  passed  part 
of  the  campaign ;  and  here  the  chevalier  found  what  he 
called  a  real  "  family,"  formed  besides  the  general  and  his 
wife  of  a  little  girl  of  three  years  and  an  infant  of  six 

The  wretched  situation  of  the  army  at  this  time, 
which  culminated  in  the  mutiny  of  the  lines  of  Pennsyl- 
vania and  New  Jersey,  is  graphically  described  in  this 
extract  from  Knox's  letter  to  his  brother,  dated  Dec.  2, 
1780:  — 


"  We  depend  upon  the  great  Author  of  Nature  to  provide  sub- 
sistence and  clothing  for  us  through  a  long  and  severe  winter;  for 
the  people,  whose  business,  according  to  the  common  course  of 
things,  it  was  to  provide  the  materials  necessary,  have  either  been 
unable  or  neglected  to  do  it.  The  soldier,  ragged  almost  to  naked- 
ness, has  to  sit  down  at  this  period,  and  with  an  axe  —  perhaps  his 
only  tool,  and  probably  that  a  bad  one  —  to  make  his  habitation  for 
winter.  However,  this,  and  [being]  punished  with  hunger  into  the 
bargain,  the  soldiers  and  officers  have  borne  with  a  fortitude  almost 
superhuman.  The  country  must  be  grateful  to  these  brave  fellows. 
It  is  impossible  to  admit  of  the  idea  of  an  alternative." 

In  January,  1781,  he  was  sent  by  Washington  to  the 
Eastern  States  to  represent  the  suffering  condition  of  the 
troops  with  a  view  to  their  relief,  and  on  the  14th  ar- 
rived at  Boston  with  the  news  of  the  mutiny  of  the  Penn- 
sylvania line. 

An  active  campaign  was  now  planned  which,  with  the 
aid  of  our  allies,  it  was  hoped  would  be  decisive.  Wash- 
ington, on  Feb.  16,  wrote  to  Knox,  instructing  him  to 
procure  the  articles  necessary  to  a  "  capital  operation 
against  New  York,  or  against  Charleston,  Savannah,  Pen- 
obscot, &c,  in  case  of  inability  to  undertake  the  siege  of  the 
first  and  principal  object."  Knox  in  reply  promised  his 
utmost  efforts  to  obtain  the  requisite  supplies,  but  details 
the  great  want  of  proper  material  for  such  an  operation, 
and  complains  of  the  Board  of  War  for  neglecting  his 
repeated  requisitions.  "  Powder,"  he  says,  "  is  an  article 
of  which  we  are  so  deficient  that,  when  a  reasonable  quan- 
tity shall  be  appropriated  for  the  use  of  the  important 
posts  in  the  highlands  (which  ought  and  will  be  furnished 
under  all  circumstances),  there  will  literally  none  remain." 

The  following  letters  and  extracts  of  letters  throw 
light  upon  the  occurrences  of  this  eventful  campaign. 



"  Wetiiersfield,  20  May,  1781. 
"I  am  here,  my  dear  brother,  having  arrived  last  evening  with 
his  Excellency  the  General  and  General  Duportail  to  meet  Count 
Rochambeau  and  Admiral  Barras,  upon  some  matters  of  great  con- 
sequence. We  came  here  last  night.  The  French  gentlemen  will 
be  here  to-morrow,  and  we  shall  probably  depart  in  two  days  after." 

And  on  the  25th  he  writes  him  :  — 

"  We  have  not  finished  our  business  until  this  morning.  Count 
Rochambeau  left  us  yesterday,  and  we  shall  set  out  in  about  one 
hour,  and  shall  expect  to  reach  New  Windsor  to-morrow  evening." 

At  this  important  meeting  the  plan  of  the  subsequent 
campaign  was  discussed,  and  as  far  as  possible  decided  on, 
the  primary  object  being  New  York. 


"  Head-quarters,  New  Windsor,  May  28,  1781. 

"  As  you  are  perfectly  acquainted  with  the  measures  which  have 
been  concerted  with  the  Count  de  Rochambeau,  I  have  only  to 
request  that  you  will  be  pleased  to  make  all  the  necessary  estimates 
of  articles  wanted  in  your  department,  and  also  put  the  whole  busi- 
ness for  the  operation  (so  far  as  is  within  your  reach)  in  the  best 
train  of  execution  which  our  embarrassed  circumstances  will  possibly 
admit.  Under  the  present  appearances  of  an  evacuation  of  New 
York,  I  think  it  will  be  [proper]  to  draw  the  stores  from  the  east- 
ward rather  than  from  the  southward." 


"  CAMr  at  Phillipsburg,  10  miles  from  King's  Bridge, 
20  July,  1781. 

"  Lucy,  with  her  sweet  children,  has  gone  up  the  river  with  Mrs. 
Cochran,  on  a  visit  to  some  families.  I  suppose  she  will  proceed  as 
far  as  Albany ;  after  which,  I  think,  she  will  sit  down  in  Jersey  for 
the  remainder  of  the  campaign.     Although  we  are  not  bad  in  ac- 


commodating  ourselves  to  our  circumstances,  yet  I  sensibly  feel  the 
inconveniences  we  labor  under,  to  accumulate  in  proportion  to  the 
increase  of  our  family.  I  sincerely  pray  God  that  the  war  may  be 
ended  this  campaign,  that  public  and  private  society  may  be  re- 
stored. .  .  . 

The  vile  water-gruel  governments  which  have  taken  place  in 
most  of  the  States  are  totally  disproportioned  to  the  exigencies  of 
the  war,  and  are  productive  of  sentiments  unworthy  an  energetic 
republic.     However,  I  hope  we  shall  wade  through. 

"  I  cannot,  in  justice,  omit  paying  some  compliments  to  our  State. 
The  policy  appears  to  be  enlarged  and  liberal ;  and  the  exertions 
greatly  surpass,  at  this  present  time,  any  State  in  the  union.  The 
same  tone,  sentiments,  and  exertion  pervading  all  the  States,  would 
indisputably  render  this  the  last  campaign. 

"  The  enemy  lately  sent  some  ships  up  the  river  with  an  intent 
to  interrupt  our  communication  by  water  with  West  Point,  but 
they  yesterday  retired  without  effecting  any  thing  of  consequence." 

TO    MRS.    KNOX. 

"  Camp,  near  Dobbs  Ferry,  3  Aug.  1781. 

..."  Yesterday  was  your  birthday.  I  cannot  attempt  to  show 
you  how  much  I  was  affected  by  it.  I  remembered  it,  and  humbly 
petitioned  Heaven  to  grant  us  the  happiness  of  continuing  our  union 
until  we  should  have  the  felicity  of  seeing  our  children  flourishing 
around  us,  and  ourselves  crowned  with  virtue,  peace,  and  years,  and 
that  we  both  might  take  our  flight  together,  secure  of  a  happy  im- 

..."  All  is  harmony  and  good  fellowship  between  the  two  armies. 
I  have  no  doubt,  when  opportunity  offers,  that  the  zeal  of  the  French 
and  the  patriotism  of  the  Americans  will  go  hand  in  hand  to  glory. 
I  cannot  explain  to  you  the  exact  plan  of  the  campaign :  we  don't 
know  it  ourselves.  You  know  what  we  wish,  but  we  hope  more  at 
present  than  we  believe." 


''Boston,  22  Aug.  1781. 
"  I  suppose,  from  necessity,  you  are  obliged  to  speak  much  French, 
which,  you  having  long  since  learnt  the  theoretic  part,  I  should 
imagine,  from  a  little  practice,  would  come  easy  to  you. 


"  If  I  recollect,  the  Compte  Rochambeau  doesn't  speak  a  word  of 
English,  nor  do  the  two  brothers  Viomenil,  Marquis  Laval,  or 
Compte  St.  Maime.  The  two  counts  Deux  Pouts,  on  the  other 
hand,  speak  [it]  pretty  well ;  and  the  most  amiable  General 
Chastellux,  a  merveille.  If  you  have  opportunity,  I  am  sure  you 
must  be  very  intimate  [with]  General  C.,  if  the  two  characters  of 
the  man  of  letters  and  polite  gentleman  are  recommendations.  I 
know  nobody  who  can  be  more  strongly  recommended.  I  have 
reason  to  speak  of  the  civility  of  all  the  gentlemen  I  have  named, 
and  of  many  which  I  have  not,  and  who  belong  to  that  army,  but 
more  particularly  of  those  shown  me  by  the  Chevalier  Chastellux, 
at  whose  petits  soupers  I  was  invited  two  evenings  out  of  three 
when  at  Newport.  I  mention  this  as  being  a  particular  mark  of 
his  attention,  for  the  being  invited  to  dine  is  a  common  compliment 
from  him  to  recommended  strangers ;  but  the  evening  circle  is 
always  selected." 

"  Headquarters,  High  Hills,  Santee,  Aug.  17,  1781. 

"My  dear  Friend,  —  If  accounts  are  true,  that  New  York  is 
seriously  invested,  you  must  be  the  hero  of  the  day.  Methinks  I 
hear  the  cannon  roar  while  I  am  writing.  The  shells  and  the  shot 
fired  from  the  besiegers  and  besieged  must  make  a  terrible  rattling. 
The  splendor  of  such  a  siege  will  sink  our  puny  operations  into 
nothing.  But,  after  you  have  done  at  New  York,  it  is  to  be  hoped 
you  will  come  to  the  southward  and  unfetter  the  poor  unfortunate 
inhabitants  of  Charlestown.  I  should  be  happy  to  see  my  old 
friend,  McDougall,  in  the  field  of  speculation.  How  goes  on  his 
chapter  of  difficulties  ?  The  siege  of  New  York,  I  imagine,  will 
afford  him  a  large  collection  of  materials.  Where  is  Howe,  with 
his  nose  ?  has  he  left  off  his  port,  or  forgiven  the  boy  that  insulted 
it  so  grossly  at  Morristown  ?  The  story  is  told  even  in  this  country  ; 
and  I  declare,  upon  my  honor,  I  did  not  bring  it  here. 

"  Where  is  the  noble  Earl  [Stirling]  ?  1  hope  he's  had  an  oppor- 
tunity to  review  the  ground  on  Long  Island  ;  and,  I  presume,  every 
officer  of  note  in  the  French  army  has  heard  in  detail  the  partic- 
ulars. We  have  had  a  report  here  that  General  Howe  and  he  had 
had  a  duel,  but  I  did  not  believe  it.  Honest  fellows,  what  have  they 
to  quarrel  about  ? 


"  I  am  sending  aide-de-camp  after  aide-de-camp  to  get  news  from 
the  northward.  I  am  not  a  little  apprehensive  the  people  on  the 
road  will  think  the  Southern  army  is  broken  up. 

"  I  beg  you  will  present  Mrs.  Knox  with  my  most  affectionate 
regards ;  and  I  hope  you  will  not  get  in  the  way  of  a  four-and- 
twenty  pounder,  but  will  return  to  her  with  whole  bones.  My  com- 
pliments to  honest  Shaw." 

And  again :  — 

"Sept.  29,  1781. 

"My  dear  Friend,  —  Where  you  are  I  know  not,  but  if  you 
are  where  I  wish  you,  it  is  with  the  General  in  Virginia ;  the  pros- 
pect is  so  bright  and  the  glory  so  great,  that  I  want  you  to  be 
there  to  share  in  them.  I  was  in  hopes  you  would  have  operated 
seriously  against  New  York,  which  would  have  been  still  more 
important ;  but  as  your  operations  are  directed  another  way,  I  take 
it  for  granted  means  were  wanting  to  play  the  great  game. 

'"  We  have  been  beating  the  bush,  and  the  General  has  come  to 
catch  the  bird.  Never  was  there  a  more  inviting  object  to  glory. 
The  General  is  a  most  fortunate  man,  and  may  success  and  laurels 
attend  him.  We  have  fought  frequently  and  bled  freely,  and  little 
glory  comes  to  our  share.  Our  force  has  been  so  small  that  nothing 
capital  could  be  effected,  and  our  operations  have  been  conducted 
under  every  disadvantage  that  could  embarrass  either  a  general  or 
an  army. 

"  I  long  to  see  you,  and  spend  an  evening's  conversation  together. 
Where  is  Mrs.  Knox  ?  and  how  is  Lucy  and  my  young  god-son,  Sir 
Harry?  I  beg  you  will  present  my  kind  compliments  and  best 
wishes  to  Mrs.  Knox. 

"  How  is  my  old  friend,  Colonel  Jackson  ?  —  is  he  as  fat  as  ever, 
and  can  he  still  eat  down  a  plate  of  fish  that  he  can't  see  over? 
God  bless  his  fat  soul  with  good  health  and  good  spirits  to  the  end 
of  the  war,  that  we  may  all  have  a  happy  meeting  in  the  North. 
Please  to  give  my  compliments  to  your  brother,  and  tell  him  we 
are  catching  at  smoky  glory  while  he  is  wisely  treasuring  up  solid 

On  the  19th  of  August,  Washington,  learning  of  the 
expected  arrival  of  the  fleet  of  De  Grasse,  marched  his 


army  to  the  southward,  having  abandoned  the  attempt 
upon  New  York,  in  order  to  operate,  in  conjunction  with 
the  French  military  and  naval  forces,  against  Lord  Corn- 
wallis  in  Virginia.  He  reached  Williamsburg  on  Septem- 
ber 14,  and,  accompanied  by  Rochambeau,  Chastellux, 
Knox,  and  Duportail,  immediately  repaired  to  the  fleet 
of  De  Grasse,  and  a  plan  of  co-operation  was  arranged 
on  board  the  "  Ville  de  Paris."  Expecting  an  attack  from 
a  British  fleet  not  much  inferior  to  his  own,  and  thinking 
his  station  within  the  Chesapeake  unfavorable  for  a  naval 
combat,  the  French  admiral  a  few  days  later  designed  to 
put  to  sea  with  his  fleet  in  quest  of  the  British.  This 
alarmed  the  American  commander,  who  despatched  La 
Fayette  and  Knox  to  entreat  him  to  preserve  his  station, 
in  which  they  fortunately  prevailed. 

The  following  letters,  relating  to  the  investiture  and 
siege  of  Yorktown,  are  not  uninteresting,  that  to  Mr.  Jay, 
our  minister  to  Spain,  giving  a  full  account  of  the  Virginia 
campaign  :  — 


"  Head  of  Elk,  8  Sept.  1781. 

"  I  rob  my  business  of  one  moment  to  inform  you  that  our  army 
is  here,  and  will,  with  all  its  stores,  proceed  down  the  Chesapeake 
in  three  days.  Our  prospects  are  good ;  and  I  shall  hope  to  inform 
you,  in  fifteen  days,  that  we  have  had  Cornwallis  completely  in- 
vested. The  Count  de  Grasse's  squadron  is  a  noble  one,  and  will 
prevent  the  enemy's  escape  by  water.  I  hope  we  shall  do  it  by 

"  Lucy  leaves  her  daughter  in  Philadelphia,  and  in  five  or  six 
days  will  set  out  for  Virginia  to  reside  with  Mrs.  Washington." 

TO    MRS.    KNOX    AT    MOUNT    VERNON. 

"  Camp  before  York,  1  Oct.  1781. 

"  We  came  before  York  on  the  28th,  on  the  29th  nearly  com- 
pleted the  investiture;  but  yesterday  the  enemy  evacuated  their 



outposts,  which  gives  us  a  considerable  advantage  in  point  of  time. 
Our  prospects  are  good,  and  we  shall  soon  hope  to  impress  our 
haughty  foe  with  a  respect  for  the  continental  arms." 

TO    MRS.    KNOX. 

"Camp  before  York,  eight  o'clock  a.m.,  19  Oct.  1781. 
"  I  have  detained  William  until  this  moment  that  I  might  be  the 
first  to  communicate  good  news  to  the  charmer  of  my  soul.  A  glorious 
moment  for  America !  This  day  Lord  Cornwallis  and  his  army 
march  out  and  pile  their  arms  in  the  face  of  our  victorious  army. 
The  day  before  yesterday  he  desired  commissioners  might  be  named 
to  treat  of  the  surrender  of  his  troops,  the  ships,  and  every  thing 
they  possess.  He  at  first  requested  that  the  Britons  might  be  sent 
to  Britain,  and  the  Germans  to  Germany ;  but  this  the  General 
refused,  and  they  have  now  agreed  to  surrender  prisoners  of  war, 
to  be  kept  in  America  until  exchanged  or  released.  They  will  have 
the  same  honors  as  the  garrison  of  Charleston  ;  that  is,  they  will  not 
be  permitted  to  unfurl  their  colors,  or  play  Yankee  Doodle.  We 
know  not  yet  how  many  they  are.  The  General  has  just  requested 
me  to  be  at  head-quarters  instantly,  therefore  I  cannot  be  more 

TO    JOHN    JAY. 

"  Camp  before  York,  in  Virginia,  21  Oct.  1781. 

"  The  enemy's  operations  in  these  States,  though  not  carried  on 
with  great  armies,  compared  with  those  of  177G  and  1777,  yet 
were  so  formidable  as  to  dispel  every  force  which  the  country  of 
itself  was  capable  of  opposing.  This  rendered  it  necessary  for 
America  to  march  its  army  here,  or  give  up  the  Southern  States 
as  lost.  It  appears,  also,  to  have  been  the  opinion  of  the  French 
Court,  as  Count  de  Grasse  gave  intelligence  of  his  intention  of 
arriving  at  the  Capes  of  Virginia.  Our  previous  views  were  New 
Yrork.  The  dispositions  were  made  on  the  Hudson's  River  for  the 
attack  of  Lord  Cornwallis  in  Virginia,  and  every  thing  has  suc- 
ceeded equal  to  our  sanguine  wishes. 

**  This  important  affair  has  been  effected  by  the  most  harmonious 
concurrence  of  circumstances  that  could  possibly  have  happened :  a 
fleet  and  troops  from  the  West  Indies,  under  the  orders  of  one  of  the 


best  men  in  the  world ;  an  army  of  American  and  French  troops, 
marching  from  the  North  River,  —  five  hundred  miles,  —  and  the 
fleet  of  Count  de  Barras,  all  joining  so  exactly  in  point  of  time  as 
to  render  what  has  happened  almost  certain. 

"I  shall  not  enter  into  a  detail  of  circumstances  previous  to  the 
collection  of  our  force  at  Williamsburg,  twelve  miles  distant  from 
this  place,  which  was  made  on  the  27th  ult.  On  the  28th  we 
marched  to  the  camp,  and  on  the  29th  and  30th  we  completed  the 
investiture  of  York.  A  body  of  American  militia,  Lauzun's  legion, 
and  some  marines  from  the  fleet  of  Count  de  Grasse,  at  the  same 
time  formed  in  the  vicinity  of  Gloucester,  so  as  to  prevent  any 
incursions  of  the  enemy  into  the  country.  From  the  1st  October  to 
the  6th  was  spent  in  preparing  our  materials  for  the  siege,  bringing 
forward  our  cannon  and  stores,  and  in  reconnoitring  the  points  of 
attack.  On  the  evening  of  the  6th  we  broke  ground  and  began  our 
first  parallel  within  six  hundred  yards  of  the  enemy's  works,  un- 

"The  first  parallel,  four  redoubts,  and  all  our  batteries  were 
finished  by  the  9th,  at  two  o'clock  p.m.,  when  we  opened  our  bat- 
teries and  kept  them  playing  continually.  On  the  night  of  the  12th 
we  began  our  second  parallel,  at  three  hundred  yards'  distance  from 
the  enemy.  And  on  the  night  of  the  14th  we  stormed  the  two 
redoubts  which  the  enemy  had  in  advance  of  their  maiu  works. 
The  gallant  troops  of  France  under  the  orders  of  Baron  de  Vio- 
menil,  and  the  hardy  soldiers  of  America  under  the  Marquis  de 
la  Fayette,  attacked  separate  works  and  carried  them  in  an  in- 
stant. This  brilliant  stroke  was  effected  without  any  great  loss 
on  our  side :  the  enemy  lost  between  one  and  two  hundred.  This 
advantage  was  important,  and  gave  us  an  opportunity  of  perfecting 
our  second  parallel,  into  which  we  took  the  two  redoubts.  On  the 
1  6th,  just  before  day,  the  enemy  made  a  sortie,  and  spiked  up  some 
of  our  cannon,  but  were  soon  repulsed  and  driven  back  to  their 
works.  The  cannon  were  soon  cleared;  and  the  same  day  our 
batteries  in  the  second  parallel  began  the  fire,  and  continued  without 
intermission  until  nine  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  the  17th  October, 
ever  memorable  on  account  of  the  Saratoga  affair,  when  the  enemy 
sent  a  flag,  offering  to  treat  of  the  surrender  of  the  posts  of  Y^ork 
and  Gloucester.  The  firing  continued  until  two  o'clock,  when  com- 
missioners on  both  sides  met  to  adjust  the  capitulation,  which  was 


not  finished  and  signed  until  twelve  o'clock  on  the  19th.  Our  troops 
took  possession  of  two  redoubts  of  the  enemy  soon  after,  and  about 
two  o'clock  the  enemy  marched  out  and  grounded  their  arms. 

"The  whole  garrison  are  prisoners  of  war,  and  had  the  same 
honors  only  as  were  granted  to  our  garrison  at  Charleston,  —  their 
colors  were  cased,  and  they  were  prohibited  playing  a  French  or 
American  tune. 

"The  returns  are  not  yet  collected  ;  but  including  officers,  sick, 
and  well,  there  are  more  than  seven  thousand,  exclusive  of  seamen, 
who  are  supposed  to  amount  to  one  thousand.  There  are  near  forty 
sail  of  topsail  vessels  in  the  harbor,  about  one-half  of  which  the  enemy 
sunk  upon  different  occasions  ;  about  two  hundred  pieces  of  cannon, 
nearly  one-half  of  them  brass ;  a  great  number  of  arms,  drums,  and 
colors  are  among  the  trophies  of  this  decisive  stroke.  The  prisoners 
are  to  be  sent  into  any  part  of  this  State,  Maryland,  or  Pennsyl- 
vania. The  consequences  will  be  extensively  beneficial.  The 
enemy  will  immediately  be  confined  to  Charleston  and  New  York, 
and  reduced  to  a  defensive  war  of  those  two  posts,  for  which  they 
have  not  more  troops  in  America  than  to  form  adequate  garrisons." 

Knox's  skill  and  activity  in  providing  and  forwarding 
heavy  cannon  for  the  siege  of  Yorktown  caused  Washing- 
ton to  report  to  the  President  of  Congress  that  "  the 
resources  of  his  genius  supplied  the  deficit  of  means  ; " 
and  he  was  complimented  in  general  orders  after  the  sur- 
render, and  recommended  for  promotion.  Chastellux,  in 
his  "  Travels  in  North  America,"  also  pays  him  a  high 
compliment.  "  We  cannot,"  he  says,  "  sufficiently  admire 
the  intelligence  and  activity  with  which  he  collected  from 
different  places  and  transported  to  the  batteries  more  than 
thirty  pieces  of  cannon  and  mortars  of  large  calibre,  for 
the  siege."  Again  he  says:  "The  artillery  was  always 
very  well  served,  the  general  incessantly  directing  it  and 
often  himself  pointing  the  mortars :  seldom  did  he  leave 
the  batteries.  .  .  .  The  English  marvelled  at  the  exact 
fire  and  the  terrible  execution  of  the  French  artillery ;  and 
we  marvelled  no  less  at  the  extraordinary  progress  of  the 


American  artillery,  and  at  the  capacity  and  instruction  of 
the  officers.  As  to  General  Knox,  but  one-half  has  been 
said  in  commending  his  military  genius.  He  is  a  man  of 
talent,  well  instructed,  of  a  buoyant  disposition,  ingenuous 
and  true  :  it  is  impossible  to  know  him  without  esteeming 
and  loving  him."  In  a  letter  to  Knox,  of  March  30, 1782, 
he  thus  manifests  the  warmth  of  his  friendship  :  — 

"  My  sentiments  will  always  meet  yours,  and  I  hope  that  I  shall 
not  be  excelled  in  serving  America  and  loving  General  Knox. 
Let  us  be  brothers  in  arms,  and  friends  in  time  of  peace.  Let  the 
alliance  between  our  respective  countries  dwell  in  onr  bosoms,  where 
it  shall  find  a  perfect  emblem  of  the  two  powers  :  in  mine,  the 
seniority ;  in  yours,  the  extent  of  territory. 

"  I  depend  upon  your  faith,  and  pledge  my  honor  that  no  interest 
in  the  world  can  prevail  over  the  warm  and  firm  attachment  with 
which  I  have  the  honor  to  be  De  Chastellux." 

General  Greene  thus  congratulates  his  friend  upon  the 
victory  at  Yorktown  :  — 

"  Head-quarters  at  the  Round  0,  10  Dec.  1781. 

"  My  dear  Friend,  —  Your  favor  of  the  1st  November  has  just 
come  to  hand.  Whatever  sweet  things  may  be  said  of  me,  there 
are  not  less  said  of  you.  Colonel  Lee,  who  lately  returned  from 
the  Northern  army,  says  you  are  the  genius  of  it,  and  that  every 
thing  is  said  of  you  that  you  can  wish.  I  will  not  wound  your  deli- 
cacy by  repeating  his  remarks.  Your  success  in  Virginia  is  brilliant, 
glorious,  great,  and  important.  The  Commander-in-chief's  head  is 
all  covered  with  laurels,  and  yours  so  shaded  with  them  that  one  can 
hardly  get  sight  of  it. 

'*  I  long  to  be  with  you,  our  spirits  are  congenial  and  our  prin- 
ciples and  sentiments  the  same.  A  long  distance  separates,  and 
alas  !  I  fear,  with  you,  we  fhall  not  have  a  happy  meeting  for  a  long 
time  to  come.  But  be  assured  my  esteem  and  affection  are  neither 
lessened  by  time  nor  distance  ;  and  I  hope  at  some  future  day,  when 
the  cannon  shall  cease  to  roar,  and  the  olive-branch  appears,  we 
shall  experience  a  happy  meeting.     Your  great  success  in  Virginia 

74  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

gives  me  the  most  flattering  hopes  that  this  winter  will  terminate 
the  war. 

"  P.S.  —  Don't  be  surprised  if  you  hear  I  attempt  the  siege  of 
Charleston  ;  nor  must  you  be  disappointed  greatly,  should  we  fail." 

In  March,  1782,  Knox  and  Gouverneur  Morris  were 
appointed  commissioners  to  arrange  a  cartel  for  a  general 
exchange  of  prisoners  ;  to  liquidate  the  expenses  of  their 
maintenance ;  and  to  provide  for  their  subsistence  in 

They  met  the  British  Commissioners  —  General  William 
Dalrymple,  whom  Knox  had  formerly  known  as  com- 
mander of  the  14th  Regiment  in  Boston,  and  Andrew 
Elliot,  Esq.  —  at  Elizabethtown,  N.  J.,  on  the  30th  ;  but  the 
differences  upon  essential  points  were  so  great,  no  arrange- 
ment could  be  effected,  notwithstanding  the  earnest  and 
persevering  exertions  of  the  American  agents.  They 
transmitted  the  account  of  their  proceedings  to  Washing- 
ton, who  thus  replied  :  — 

'•I  should  do  injustice  to  my  own  feelings  on  this  occasion  if  I 
did  not  express  something  beyond  my  bare  approbation  of  the  atten- 
tion, address,  and  ability  exhibited  by  you,  gentlemen,  in  the  course 
of  this  tedious  and  fruitless  negotiation.  The  want  of  succeeding  in 
the  great  object  of  your  mission  does  not,  however,  lessen  in  my 
estimation  the  merit  which  is  due  to  the  unwearied  assiduity  for  the 
public  good,  and  the  benevolent  zeal  to  alleviate  the  distresses  of 
the  unfortunate,  which  seem  to  have  actuated  you  on  every  occasion, 
and  for  which,  I  entreat,  you  will  be  pleased  to  accept  my  most 
cordial  thanks."  > 

In  the  following  letter '  to  Washington,  Knox  refers 
to  the  obstacles  the  commissioners  had  encountered,  and 
acknowledges  his  obligations  to  him  for  his  promotion  as 
a  major-general,  which  took  place  on  the  22d  of  March, 
1782,  dating  from  15  November,  1T81 :  — 



11  Baskenridge,  21  April,  1782. 

"  We  have  at  last  left  P^lizabethtown.  Our  stay  there  was 
unreasonably  protracted  by  the  frequent  references  to  New  York. 

"We  have  very  good  reason  to  believe  that  all  the  important 
propositions  made  by  us  were  discussed  in  New  York  by  a  council 
of  general  officers.  .  .  .  Every  circumstance  we  observed  tended 
to  convince  us  that  we  never  shall  obtain  justice  or  equal  treatment 
from  the  enemy  but  when  [we  are]  in  a  situation  to  demand  it. 

..."  Your  Excellency  knows  the  importance  and  value  of  the 
intelligence  you  obtain  through  the  medium  of  Elizabethtown.  In 
my  opinion,  nothing  but  the  importance  of  this  would  counter- 
balance the  evils  which  arise  from  continuing  a  post  there.  If  all 
exchanges  of  prisoners  were  made  by  the  North  River,  it  would  be 
better,  and  prevent  much  improper  communication,  which  unavoid- 
ably prevails  at  present. 

"I  have  received  a  letter  from  General  Lincoln,  informing  that 
Congress  have  been  pleased  to  promote  me  in  the  manner  most 
flattering  to  my  wishes,  founded  upon  your  Excellency's  letter  from 

u  I  cannot  express  how  deeply  I  am  impressed  with  a  sense  of 
your  kindness,  and  the  favorable  point  of  view  in  which  you  have 
regarded  my  feeble  attempts  to  promote  the  service  of  my  country. 
I  shall  ever  retain,  my  dear  General,  a  lively  sense  of  your  goodness 
and  friendship,  and  shall  be  happy  indeed  if  my  future  conduct  shall 
meet  with  your  approbation." 

In  July,  Knox,  who  had  been  inspecting  the  fortifica- 
tions of  West  Point,  informed  Washington  by  letter  of  its 
inability  to  stand  a  siege,  and  of  the  deficiencies  in  its 
magazines,  buildings,  &c. ;  and,  on  being  appointed  to  the 
command  of  that  post  on  Aug.  29,  set  himself  vigorously  at 
work  to  strengthen  and  complete  the  works.  In  his  letter 
of  instructions,  Washington  thus  evinces  his  appreciation 
of  Knox :  "  I  have  so  thorough  a  confidence  in  you,  and 
so  well  am  I  acquainted  with  your  abilities  and  activity, 
that  I  think  it  needless  to  point  out  to  you  the  great  out- 
lines of  your  duty." 

76  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

The  discontent  of  the  army  respecting  the  arrearages  of 
its  pay  was  increased  by  the  prospect  of  its  being  ere  long 
disbanded,  without  adequate  provision  by  Congress  for  a 
settlement ;  and  it  manifested  itself  in  audible  murmurs 
and  complaints,  which  threatened  serious  consequences. 

In  December,  1782,  a  committee  of  officers  was  chosen 
to  draft  an  address  and  petition  to  Congress.  This  was 
drawn  up  by  Knox,  its  chairman,  and  contained  a  state- 
ment of  the  amounts  due  them  ;  a  proposal  that  the  half- 
pay  for  life  should  be  commuted  for  a  specific  sum  ;  and  a 
request  that  security  should  be  given  by  the  government 
for  the  fulfilment  of  its  engagements. 

General  McDougall,  with  Colonels  Brooks  and  Ogden, 
were  deputed  to  bear  this  memorial  to  Congress,  which 
body,  in  January,  1783,  passed  resolves  concerning  it, 
indefinite  in  their  character  and  unsatisfactory  to  the 
officers.  The  disappointment  and  irritation  felt  at  this 
result  produced  the  famous  "  Newburg  Addresses,"  by 
which  the  feelings  of  the  officers  were  wrought  up  to 
the  highest  pitch. 

At  this  point  the  strenuous  exertions  of  Knox  were 
joined  with  those  of  Washington,  in  composing  the  dis- 
contented and  mutinous  spirit  which  appeared  ;  and  at 
tl^e  meeting  of  officers  held  March  15th,  at  which  Wash- 
ington by  a  patriotic  and  impressive  address  allayed  the 
storm  which  threatened  the  peace  of  the  country,  Knox 
moved  the  resolutions  thanking  him  for  the  course  he  had 
pursued  and  expressive  of  their  unabated  attachment,  and 
also  declaring  their  unshaken  reliance  on  the  good  faith  of 
Congress  and  their  country,  and  a  determination  to  bear 
with  patience  their  grievances  till,  in  due  time,  they  should 
be  redressed.  The  subject  was  again  considered  in  Con- 
gress, and  the  commutation  and  other  provisions  asked  for 
in  the  memorial  were  granted. 


The  extracts  from  Knox's  letters,  given  below,  present  a 
faithful  picture  of  his  sentiments  and  those  of  the  army 
upon  this  subject,  and  upon  the  still  more  important  one, 
—  a  stronger  and  more  responsible  government. 


"  20  Dec.  1782. 
"  I  am,  and  I  believe  the  whole  army  are,  perfectly  in  sentiment 
with  you  respecting  a  commutation  of  half-pay.  The  accounts  up 
to  the  present  period  ought  to  be  settled  by  somebody.  The  State 
settlement  for  the  reasons  you  have  given  must  be  preferable.  The 
expectations  of  the  army,  from  the  drummer  to  the  highest  officers, 
are  so  keen  for  some  pay,  that  I  shudder  at  the  idea  of  their  not 
receiving  it.  The  utmost  period  of  sufferance  upon  that  head  has 
arrived.  To  attempt  to  lengthen  it  will  undoubtedly  occasion  com- 
motions. The  gentlemen  sent  with  the  address  have  been  unable 
to  raise  the  money  for  their  expenses,  until  yesterday.  The  army 
will  have  anxious  moments  until  they  shall  know  the  result." 


"  21  Feb.  1783. 

"  The  army  generally  have  always  reprobated  the  idea  of  being 
thirteen  armies.  Their  ardent  desires  have  been  to  be  one  conti- 
nental body  looking  up  to  one  sovereign.  This  would  have  pre- 
vented much  heart-burning  at  the  partialities  which  have  been 
practised  by  the  respective  States.  They  know  of  no  way  of  bring- 
ing this  about,  at  a  period  when  peace  appears  to  be  in  full  view. 
Certain  it  is  they  are  good  patriots,  and  would  forward  any  thing 
that  would  tend  to  produce  union,  and  a  permanent  general  consti- 
tution ;  .  .  .  but  they  must  be  directed  in  the  mode  by  the  proper 

"It  is  a  favorite  toast  in  the  army,  'A  hoop  to  the  barrel,'  or 
'  Cement  to  the  Union.'  America  will  have  fought  and  bled  to  little 
purpose  if  the  powers  of  government  shall  be  insufficient  to  preserve 
the  peace,  and  this  must  be  the  case  without  general  funds.  As 
the  present  Constitution  is  so  defective,  why  do  not  you  great  men 
call  the  people  together  and  tell  them  so ;  that  is,  to  have  a  conven- 
tion of  the  States  to  form  a  better  Constitution  ?    This  appears  to  us, 



who  have  a  superficial  view  only,  to  be  the  more  efficacious  remedy. 
Let  something  be  done  before  a  peace  takes  place,  or  we  shall  be 
in  a  worse  situation  than  we  were  at  the  commencement  of  the 


"  West  Point,  21  Feb.  1783. 

"  I  received  the  report  signed  by  you  and  Colonel  Ogden,  copies 
of  which  have  been  distributed  to  the  different  parts  of  the  army. 
The  business,  instead  of  being  brought  to  a  close,  seems  more  re- 
mote from  a  decision  than  it  was  before  the  application  to  Congress. 
The  complex  system  of  government  operates  most  powerfully  in 
the  present  instance  against  the  army,  who  certainly  deserve  every 
thing  in  the  power  of  a  grateful  people  to  give. 

"  We  are  in  an  unhappy  predicament  indeed,  not  to  know  who 
are  responsible  to  us  for  a  settlement  of  accounts. 

"  Posterity  will  hardly  believe  that  an  army  contended  incessantly 
for  eight  years  under  a  constant  pressure  of  misery  to  establish  the 
liberties  of  their  country,  without  knowing  who  were  to  compensate 
them  or  whether  they  were  ever  to  receive  any  reward  for  their 
services.  It  is  high  time  that  we  should,  now  we  have  a  prospect 
of  peace,  know  whether  the  respective  States  or  the  whole,  aggre- 
gately, are  to  recognize  our  dues  and  to  place  them  upon  such  prin- 
ciples as  to  promise  some  future  benefit.  Much  has  been  said  about 
the  influence  of  the  army  :  ...  it  can  only  exist  in  one  point,  that 
to  be  sure  is  a  sharp  point,  which  I  hope  in  God  will  never  be 
directed  but  against  the  enemies  of  the  liberties  of  America.  .  .  . 

"  It  will  take  much  time  to  change  or  amend  the  present  form  [of 
government] :  must  our  accounts,  therefore,  remain  unsettled  until 
this  shall  have  been  considered  and  decided  upon  ?     I  think  not. 

"  My  sentiments  are  exactly  these.  I  consider  the  reputation  of 
the  American  army  as  one  of  the  most  immaculate  things  on  earth, 
and  that  we  should  even  suffer  wrongs  and  injuries  to  the  utmost 
verge  of  toleration  rather  than  sully  it  in  the  least  degree.  But 
there  is  a  point  beyond  which  there  is  no  sufferance.  I  pray  sin- 
cerely we  may  not  pass  it.  ...  I  have  not  taken  the  sense  of  the 
army  upon  your  report;  that  is,  I  have  not  called  any  number  of 
officers  together  upon  this  subject,  because,  as  no  decision  has  been 
made,  nothing  they  can  say  will,  in  the  least,  forward  the  matter.  I 
ardently  wish  you  may  be  able  to  fix  the  rate  of  commutation,  and 


have  a  person  appointed  to  settle  the  accounts  of  the  army,  and  then 
have  a  reference  to  the  respective  States,  to  become  responsible  for 
the  sums  which  may  be  found  due  upon  both  principles  of  accounts 
and  commutation  of  half-pay. 

"  You  will  readily  perceive  I  mean  this  as  a  private  letter,  nay, 
more,  a  confidential  one." 

TO    THE    SAME. 

"  West  Point,  3  March,  1783. 

"  The  army  are  impatiently  waiting  the  result  of  your  mission. 
I  earnestly  wish  it  may  produce  more  than  it  at  present  seems  to 
promise.  I  am  certain  nothing  is  wanting  on  your  part  to  bring 
the  matter  to  a  happy  termination.  It  is  enough  to  sicken  one 
to  observe  how  light  a  matter  many  States  make  of  their  not  being 
represented  in  Congress,  —  a  good  proof  of  the  badness  of  the 
p  resent^  XlonsJitution. 

"  Your  view  of  the  sentiments  of  the  people  on  a  prospect  of 
peace  is  a  just  representation  of  what  we  are  to  expect  after  that 
event.  However,  let  them  first  do  the  army  justice,  and  we  shall 
demand  a  very  small  pittance  of  their  gratitude,  and  little  shall  we 
find  it. 

To  McDougall  he  again  writes  on  the  12th,  two  days 
after  the  appearance  of  the  "  Newburg  Addresses  :  " — 

u  I  sincerely  hope  we  shall  not  be  influenced  to  actions  which 
may  be  contrary  to  our  uniform  course  of  service  for  eight  years. 
The  men  who,  by  their  illiberality  and  injustice  drive  the  army  to 
the  very  brink  of  destruction,  ought  to  be  punished  with  severity. 

"  The  measures  we  can  take  to  remedy  our  evils  are  not  known 
to  me.  I  know  not  how  by  any  violence  we  can  obtain  a  settle- 
ment of  accounts,  and  have  the  half-pay  placed  upon  proper  prin- 
ciples, except  by  the  applications  we  have  made.  Endeavor,  my 
dear  friend,  once  more  to  convince  the  obdurate  of  the  awful  evils 
which  may  arise  from  postponing  a  decision  on  the  subjects  of  our 


"  West  Poixt,  3  March,  1783. 
"I  most  earnestly  conjure  you  to  urge  that  every  thing  respect- 
ing the  army  be  decided  upon  before  peace  takes  place.     No  time 


ought  to  be  lost.  Let  the  public  only  comply  with  their  own  prom- 
ises, and  the  army  will  return  to  their  respective  homes  the  lambs 
and  bees  of  the  community.  But  if  they  should  be  disbanded  pre- 
vious to  a  settlement,  without  knowing  who  to  look  to  for  an  adjust- 
ment of  accounts  and  a  responsibility  of  payment,  they  will  be  so 
deeply  stung  by  the  injustice  and  ingratitude  of  their  country  as  to 
become  its  tigers  and  wolves.', 

And  again,  on  the  12th:  — 

"The  officers  are  waiting  impatiently  the  result  of  General 
McDougall's  mission.  Their  impatience  is  almost  heightened  into 
despair.  Papers  have  been  distributed  by  unknown  persons,  call- 
ing the  body  of  the  officers  together  yesterday  in  the  new  building, 
accompanied  by  an  address  calculated  to  rouse  the  officers  to  re- 
dress their  own  grievances.  The  Commander-in-chief  requested 
that  the  meeting  might  be  postponed  until  next  Saturday.  What 
will  be  the  result,  God  only  knows.  Congress  ought  not  to  lose  a 
moment  in  bringing  the  affairs  of  the  army  to  a  decision.  Push  the 
matter  instantly,  my  dear  sir,  with  all  your  might  and  main." 

On  the  16th  he  writes  :  — 

"The  meeting  was  had  yesterday.  The  occasion,  though  in- 
tended for  opposite  purposes,  has  been  one  of  the  happiest  circum- 
stances of  the  war,  and  will  set  the  military  character  of  America 
in  a  high  point  of  view.  If  the  people  have  the  most  latent  spark 
of  gratitude,  this  generous  proceeding  of  the  army  must  call  it  forth. 
For  these  reasons,  I  think  the  proceedings  ought  to  be  published. 
Can  you  not  have  this  done  immediately?  If  so,  forward  some 
hundred  copies  to  the  army.  The  General's  address  is  a  masterly 

It  was  at  this  time  that  Knox,  in  order  to  perpetuate 
the  friendships  formed  by  the  officers  of  the  army,  so  soon 
to  be  disbanded,  and  at  the  same  time  to  create  a  fund  for 
their  indigent  widows  and  orphans,  founded  the  Society  of 
the  Cincinnati,  each  officer  upon  joining  contributing  to 


its  treasury  one  month's  pay.  Washington  was  chosen 
its  President,  and  Knox  Secretary ;  and  the  French  ad- 
mirals, generals,  and  colonels  who  had  served  in  America 
were  also  constituted  members. 

Its  Institution,  which  was  the  work  of  Knox,  was  car- 
ried into  effect,  with  some  slight  amendments,  in  May, 
1783.  One  of  its  features  aroused  considerable  hostility, 
and  gave  rise  to  much  discussion.  This  was  the  provision 
by  which  the  eldest  male  heir  succeeded  to  a  vacant  mem- 
bership, and  which  was  vehemently  assailed  as  introducing 
an  order  of  nobility  into  the  republic.  Time  has  refuted 
the  calumnies  to  which  the  Society  was  subjected ;  and  its 
career  of  beneficence,  still  active,  testifies  to  the  wisdom 
as  well  as  to  the  benevolence  of  its  founder.  Knox  con- 
tinued its  secretary  until  the  year  1800,  and  in  1805 
became  vice-president.  He  was  also  vice-president  of  the 
Massachusetts  branch  in  1783. 

Knox  had  been  left  by  Washington  in  command  of  the 
army  on  August  26,  and  in  November  he  began  the  deli- 
cate and  arduous  task  of  disbanding  it.  The  evacuation  of 
New  York  by  the  enemy  gave  rise  to  the  following  cor- 
respondence between  the  respective  commanders  :  — 


"Rocky  Hill,  23  Oct.  1783. 

"  The  arrival  of  the  definitive  treaty  and  the  evacuation  of  New 
York  have  been  so  long  delayed  as  to  interfere  very  materially  with 
our  arrangements  for  the  celebration  of  peace.  ...  I  think,  there- 
fore, that  it  will  be  best  to  defer  it  until  the  British  leave  the  city, 
and  then  to  have  it  at  that  place,  where  all  who  choose  to  attend 
can  find  accommodation. 

"  Sir  Guy  Carleton  some  time  since  informed  me,  through  Mr. 
Parker,  that  he  should  leave  New  York,  in  all,  next  month,  prob- 
ably by  the  20th  ;  and  that  when  the  transports  which  were  gone 
to  Nova  Scotia  returned,  he  should  be  able  to  fix  the  day.     This 


notice  may  be  short ;  and,  as  it  is  best  to  be  prepared,  I  wish  you  to 
confer  on  the  subject  with  Governor  Clinton,  and  have  every  neces- 
sary arrangement  made  for  taking  possession  of  the  city  on  their 
leaving  it.  You  will  please  to  report  to  me  the  arrangements  you 
may  agree  on. 

"  Enclosed  I  transmit  you  copy  of  a  proclamation  of  Congress  for 
the  dissolution  of  the  army  :  you  will  please  to  publish  it  to  the 
troops  under  your  orders." 


"  West  Point,  9  Nov.  1783. 
"Sir,  —  By  your  Excellency's  verbal  message,  transmitted 
through  Mr.  Parker  to  his  Excellency  General  Washington,  ex- 
pressing your  expectations  of  being  able  to  withdraw  his  Brittauic 
Majesty's  troops  from  New  York  in  the  course  of  the  present  month  ; 
and  by  recent  reports  from  there,  it  appears  probable  that  the  period 
is  fixed  for  that  event.  In  this  case,  I  natter  myself  your  Excel- 
lency will  see  how  necessary  it  may  be  for  the  protection  of  the 
city  and  its  inhabitants,  that  it  should  be  immediately  occupied  by 
some  American  forces.  I  have  received  his  Excellency  General 
Washington's  directions  on  this  head,  and  I  have  consulted  with  his 
Excellency  Governor  Clinton,  who  is  too  unwell  to  take  any  meas- 
ures himself,  but  is  exceedingly  desirous  that  every  arrangement 
should  be  made  which  would  induce  to  good  order  until  the  civil 
authority  of  the  State  should  be  established. 

"  Having  the  command  of  the  military  in  this  quarter,  and  being 
assured  of  your  Excellency's  perfect  disposition  to  insure  the  safety 
of  the  city,  I  have  taken  the  liberty  to  address  you  upon  this  point, 
and  to  request  the  honor  that  you  would  favor  me  in  season  with 
the  information  of  the  precise  time  when  you  may  please  to  relin- 
quish the  jurisdiction  of  the  posts  now  in  your  possession,  as  the 
troops  for  the  before-mentioned  purpose  would  principally  be  drawn 
from  the  neighborhood  of  this  post.  I  hope  it  will  be  a  sufficient 
apology  for  requesting  five  or  six  days'  notice  previous  to  the  em- 
barkation of  the  last  of  your  corps. 

"  Captain  Lillie,  my  aide-de-camp,  will  have  the  honor  to  deliver 
this  letter  and  receive  your  Excellency's  answer." 



"  New  York,  12  Nov.  1783. 

"  Sir,  —  I  have  this  day  communicated  to  his  Excellency  General 
Washington,  by  letter,  my  intention  of  relinquishing  the  posts  at 
King's  Bridge  and  as  far  as  McGowan's  Pass,  inclusive,  on  this 
Island  on  the  21st  instant;  to  resign  the  possession  of  Herrick's 
and  Hampstead  with  all  to  the  eastward  on  Long  Island,  on  the 
same  day ;  and,  if  possible,  to  give  up  this  city  with  Brooklyn  on 
the  day  following,  and  Paulus  Hook,  Dennys's,  and  Staten  Island 
as  soon  after  as  may  be  practicable,  reserving  only  with  respect  to 
New  York  that,  if  any  of  our  ships  should  happen  to  want  repairs 
after  the  town  is  evacuated,  we  shall  still  have  the  free  and  unin- 
terrupted use  of  the  Ship  Yard,  under  the  direction  of  such  officer 
as  the  Admiral  shall  appoint,  as  long  as  it  may  be  requisite  for  that 

"  Major  Beckwith,  my  oldest  aide-de-camp,  who  waits  upon  you 
with  this  letter,  will  communicate  such  other  particulars  as  may  be 
necessary  for  your  further  information." 

On  the  25th  of  November  the  British  army  evacuated 
the  city ;  and  Knox,  at  the  head  of  the  American  troops, 
took  possession.  The  principal  officers  of  the  army  yet 
remaining  in  service  assembled,  on  Dec.  4,  at  Fraunce's 
Tavern  to  take  a  final  leave  of  their  beloved  chief.  Wash- 
ington entered  the  room  where  they  were  all  waiting,  and 
taking  a  glass  of  wine  in  his  hand  he  said,  "  With  a  heart 
full  of  love  and  gratitude  I  now  take  leave  of  you.  I  most 
devoutly  wish  that  your  latter  days  may  be  as  prosperous 
and  happy  as  your  former  ones  have  been  glorious  and 
honorable."  Having  drunk,  he  continued :  "  I  cannot 
come  to  each  of  you  to  take  my  leave,  but  shall  be  obliged 
to  you  if  each  will  come  and  take  me  by  the  hand."  Knox 
who  stood  nearest  to  him  turned  and  grasped  his  hand  ; 
and  while  the  tears  flowed  down  the  cheeks  of  each,  the 
Commander-in-chief  kissed  him.  This  he  did  to  each  of 
his  officers,  while  tears  and  sobs  stifled  utterance. 

84  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

Upon  his  return  to  West  Point,  Dec.  18th,  Knox  was 
officially  thanked  by  Governor  Clinton  and  the  Council  for 
Ids  attention  to  the  rights  of  the  citizens  of  the  State  of 
New  York,  and  for  his  zeal  in  preserving  peace  and  good 
order  since  the  evacuation. 

The  following  letter  to  Washington  explains  itself :  — 

"  West  Point,  29  Sept.  1783. 

"Sir,  —  I  beg  leave  to  state  to  your  Excellency,  and  through 
you  to  the  honorable  Congress,  that  the  unavoidable  expenses  aris- 
ing from  the  command  of  this  post  and  its  dependencies  have 
greatly  exceeded  any  emoluments  of  office  arising  from  my  rank 
in  the  army  ;  and  that,  in  order  to  support  my  station  with  some 
propriety,  so  as  not  to  reflect  disgrace  upon  the  public  rank  I  sus- 
tain, I  have  been  obliged  to  make  use  of  my  private  resources  to  a 
considerable  amount. 

"That  it  has  uniformly  been  customary,  from  the  peculiar 
expenses  of  the  command,  to  allow  the  emoluments  of  a  major- 
general  commanding  in  a  separate  department,  and  that  said  allow- 
ance was  withdrawn  a  short  time  previous  to  your  Excellency's 
ordering  me  on  the  command.  It  may  be  unnecessary  to  enter 
into  a  detail  of  circumstances  which  have  rendered  my  com- 
mand as  expensive  as  that  of  my  predecessors.  It  is  sufficient 
that  I  can  easily  prove  that  it  has  been  so.  I  therefore  honestly 
hope  to  have  the  same  compensation. 

u  I  pray  that  your  Excellency  would  have  the  goodness  to  place 
this  request  before  Congress  in  the  mauner  that  you  may  think  it 

In  consequence  of  this  application,  Congress,  on  the 
30th  of  October,  allowed  him  the  pay  of  a  major-general  in 
a  separate  department,  during  his  command  at  West  Point. 
This  gave  him  an  additional  sum  of  ninety  dollars  per 
month  from  Sept.  1st,  1782,  amounting  to  $1,350.  He 
retained  command  of  that  post  until  early  in  January, 

With  Washington  he   continued  to  keep  up  an  active 


correspondence,  which  terminated  only  with  the  death  of 
his  chief,  whose  efforts  were  not  wanting  when,  as  in  the 
present  case,  it  seemed  likely  that  they  could  be  of  service 
to  his  friend  who  desired  to  continue  to  serve  his  country 
in  the  capacity  in  which  he  could  be  most  useful. 


"  West  Point,  17  Sept.  1783. 

"My  dear  General,  —  I  cannot  refrain  from  communicating 
the  joy  I  feel,  and  the  pleasure  manifested  by  the  officers  in  gen- 
eral, upon  the  noble  testimony  of  gratitude  exhibited  by  Congress 
in  their  resolve  concerning  the  Equestrian  Statue.  This  permanent 
evidence  of  their  sense  of  your  services  will  illustrate  their  virtue 
and  honor  more  than  whole  columns  of  panegyric. 

u  I  am  daily  solicited  for  information  respecting  the  progress 
of  the  officers'  petition  for  a  new  State  westward  of  the  Ohio. 
.  .  .  Were  the  prayer  of  the  petition  to  be  granted,  the  officers 
in  a  very  few  years  would  make  the  finest  settlement  on  the  fron- 
tiers, and  form  a  strong  barrier  against  the  barbarians. 

"  I  have  had  it  in  contemplation  for  a  long  time  past,  to  mention 
to  your  Excellency  the  idea  of  a  master  general  of  ordnance.  But  I 
hesitated,  and  finally  declined  it  in  my  last  opinion  to  you  upon 
a  peace  establishment,  lest  it  might  be  concluded  that  I  was  endeav- 
oring to  create  a  post  for  myself.  But  the  resignation  of  the  min- 
ister of  war  eventual  upon  the  definitive  treaty  of  peace,  and  his 
opinion  that  no  successor  will  be  appointed,  joined  to  the  necessity 
of  having  some  person  responsible  to  Congress,  seem  to  combine  to 
render  such  an  officer  peculiarly  necessary,  who  should  principally 
reside  near  Congress  to  execute  orders  as  they  should  think  proper 
for  the  dignity  or  security  of  the  republic.  It  is  a  well-known 
fact  that  so  complex  and  extensive  a  business  as  the  formation 
of  an  ordnance  and  its  numerous  dependencies,  the  manufacture  of 
small  arms  and  accoutrements,  must  be  the  work  of  much  time,  and 
can  only  be  effectually  prepared  in  profound  peace. 

"  Congress  have  evinced  so  much  wisdom  and  magnanimity  in 
their  conduct,  that  it  cannot  be  doubted  that  they  will  make  the 
most  substantial  arrangements  for  future  exigencies  consistent  with 
their  revenues  and  the  nicest  economy. 



"  The  abundant  experience  I  have  had  of  your  Excellency's 
kindness  and  friendship  has  induced  me  to  communicate  this  in 
confidence.  'I  beg  leave  at  the  same  time  to  remark,  that,  although 
my  expectations  and  wishes  are  for  private  life,  yet  if  any  office 
similar  to  the  above  should  be  formed  upon  the  broad  scale  of 
national  policy,  I  might,  if  thought  worthy,  find  it  convenient  to 
give  it  my  zealous  assistance.  I  mention  this  matter  more  readily 
from  a  remembrance  of  your  favorable  recommendations  for  the 
office  of  Secretary  at  War." 


"Rocky  Hill,  2d  Nov.  1783. 
"  General  Lincoln's  resignation  has  been  offered,  and  accepted  by 
Congress.  ...  I  have  conversed  with  several  members  of  Congress 
upon  the  propriety,  in  time  of  peace,  of  uniting  the  offices  of  Secre- 
tary at  War  and  Master  of  Ordnance  in  one  person,  and  letting  him 
have  the  command  of  the  troops  on  the  peace  establishment,  not  as 
an  appendage  of  right,  —  for  that  I  think  would  be  wrong,  —  but  by 
separate  appointment  at  the  discretion  of  Congress.  Those  I  have 
spoken  to  on  the  subject  seem  to  approve  the  idea,  which,  if  adopted, 
would  make  a  handsome  appointment.  I  will  converse  with  others 
on  this  head,  and  let  you  know  the  result.  My  wishes  to  serve  you 
in  it  you  need  not  doubt,  being  with  much  truth 

"  Your  most  affectionate 

"  George  Washington." 

knox  to  washington. 

"  West  Point,  3d  Jan.  1784. 

..."  I  have  discharged  all  the  troops  but  those  specified  in  the 
enclosed  return.  I  believe  I  did  not  mention  to  your  Excellency 
my  ideas  of  the  pay  for  the  offices  that  might  be  associated ;  viz., 
the  duties  of  the  Secretary  at  War,  Master  of  Ordnance,  and 
charge  or  command  of  any  troops  which  might  be  retained  in  ser- 
vice. It  appears  to  me,  and  I  hope  that  I  fairly  estimate  the 
expenses  and  trouble,  that  the  pay  and  emoluments  of  a  major- 
general  in  a  separate  department  free  of  any  encumbrances  would 
not  be  an  unreasonable  appointment.  Should  Congress  think 
proper  to  honor  me  with  an  offer  of  these  offices  associated  together, 
I  should  be  willing  to  accept  them  upon  the  above  terms ;  but  I 


should   do  injustice  to  myself  and  family  to  accept  of  any  employ- 
ment which  would  not  prevent  my  involving  myself. 

"  Having  brought  the  affairs  here  nearly  to  a  close,  I  shall  soon 
depart  for  Boston,  for  which  place  Mrs.  Knox  and  her  little  family 
set  out  from  New  York  on  the  10th  ult.  I  should  do  violence  to 
the  dictates  of  my  heart  were  I  to  suppress  its  sensations  of  affec- 
tion and  gratitude  to  you  for  the  innumerable  instances  of  your 
kindness  and  attention  to  me.  And,  although  I  can  find  no  words 
equal  to  their  warmth,  I  may  venture  to  assure  you  that  they  will 
remain  indelibly  fixed.  I  devoutly  pray  the  Supreme  Being  to  con- 
tinue to  afford  you  his  especial  protection." 

In  January r  1784,  Knox  arrived  at  Boston,  and  took  up 
his  residence  in  Dorchester.* 

With  General  Lincoln  and  George  Partridge  he  was  in 
June  appointed  by  the  General  Court  of  Massachusetts  a 
commissioner  to  treat  with  the  Penobscot  Indians,  in  order 
to  induce  them  to  relinquish  their  lands  from  the  head  of 
the  tide  forty  miles  up  the  river.  They  were  also  in- 
structed to  examine  whether  the  people  under  the  govern- 
ment of  Nova  Scotia  had  encroached  upon  the  territories 
of  Massachusetts,  and  to  settle  the  Eastern  boundary  line, 
a  dispute  having  arisen  as  to  which  was  the  river  St.  Croix 
intended  by  the  treaty  with  Great  Britain.  The  commis- 
sioners having  performed  the  duty  assigned  them  made 
their  report  a  few  months  later. 

From   Paris    La  Fayette  writes   to    Knox   on   Jan.    8, 

1784  :  — 

"  It  has  been  to  me  a  great  happiness  to  hear  from  you  ;  and  while 
we  are  separated,  I  beg  you  will  let  me  enjoy  it  as  often  as  possible. 
You  know  my  tender  affection  for  you,  my  dear  Knox,  is  engraved 

*  The  house  in  which  Knox  lived  may  still  be  seen  a  short  distance 
beyond  the  Second  Congregational  Church,  on  the  upper  road  to  Milton.  It 
was  formerly  owned  by  a  Mr.  Jones.  It  has  long  heen  the  property  of  the 
Welles  family,  bankers  of  Boston  and  Paris,  and  was  for  one  or  more  years 
the  summer  residence  of  Daniel  Webster.  P 

88  LIFE    OF   HENRY    KNOX. 

in  my  heart,  and  I  shall  keep  it  as  long  as  I  live.  From  the  begin- 
ning of  our  great  Revolution,  which  has  been  the  beginning  of  our 
acquaintance,  we  have  been  actuated  by  the  same  principles,  im- 
pressed with  the  same  ideas,  attached  to  the  same  friends,  and  we 
have  warmly  loved  and  confidentially  intrusted  each  other.  The 
remembrance  of  all  this  is  dear  to  my  heart ;  and  from  every  motive 
of  tenderness  and  regard,  I  set  the  greater  value  by  the  happiness 
of  your  possession  as  a  bosom  friend.  I  have  been  much  employed 
in  rendering  America  what  service  I  could  in  the  affairs  of  her 
commerce.  What  I  can  do  must  be  entirely  done  before  the  spring, 
when  1  intend  embarking  for  my  beloved  shores  of  Liberty.  My 
delays  in  Europe  are  owing  to  motives  of  American  public  ser- 
vice. .  .  .  Dunkirk,  L'Orient,  Bayonne,  and  Marseilles  have  been 
declared  free  ports  of  America." 

When  the  gallant  Frenchman  visited  Boston  in  October, 
1784,  he  was  met  at  Watertown,  on  the  15th,  by  a  number 
of  the  officers  of  the  late  continental  army,  headed  by 
Knox ;  and  together  they  sat  down  to  an  elegant  repast 
provided  for  the  occasion.  On  the  following  day  he  was 
waited  on  by  them  with  an  address  by  Knox,  to  which  the 
marquis  made  a  suitable  reply.  A  more  general  welcome 
was  extended  by  the  citizens  on  the  19th,  when  a  public 
dinner,  was  given  in  his  honor,  at  Faneuil  Hall,  at  which 
many  persons  of  distinction,  among  them  seventy-live 
officers  of  the  Revolutionary  army,  were  present. 

Congress  having,  on  March'  4,  1785,  fixed  the  salary  of 
the  Secretary  of  War  for  the  future  at  $2,450,  proceeded 
on  the  8th  to  elect  Knox  to  that  office.  He  thus  replies 
to  the  letter  of  the  Secretary  notifying  him  of  his  elec- 
tion :  — 


"  Boston,  17  March,  1785. 

"  Sir,  —  I  have  had  the  pleasure  to  receive  your  favor  of  the 
9  th    instant,   informing   of   the    honor    conferred   on    me    by    the 


United  States  in  Congress  assembled,  in  electing  me  Secretary  of 
War,  and  enclosing  the  ordinance  for  ascertaining  the  powers  and 
duties  of  the  office,  the  act  establishing  the  salary,  and  the  minute 
of  the  election. 

"  I  have  the  most  grateful  sentiments  to  Congress  for  this  distin- 
guishing mark  of  their  confidence  ;  and  I  shall,  according  to  the  best 
of  my  abilities,  attempt  to  execute  the  duties  of  the  office.  I  shall 
have  a  perfect  reliance  upon  a  candid  interpretation  of  my  actions, 
and  I  shall  hope  that  application  to  business  and  propriety  of  inten- 
tion may,  in  a  degree,  excuse  a  deficiency  of  talents. 

"  My  affairs  here  will  require  my  personal  attention  the  latter  end 
of  May  and  beginning  of  June,  and  I  hope  to  be  indulged  with  a 
few  weeks'  absence  at  that  time,  provided  it  can  be  granted  without 
public  injury.  In  the  mean  time,  I  shall  endeavor  to  be  at  New 
York  about  the  12th  of  next  month.'" 

And  from  Boston  he  wrote  to  Washington  on  the  24th, 
acquainting  him  with  his  appointment,  from  which  letter 
we  extract  as  follows  :  — 

"  You  may  probably  have  heard  that  Congress  have  been  pleased 
to  appoint  me  Secretary  at  War.  I  have  accepted  the  appointment, 
and  shall  expect  to  be  in  New  York  about  the  loth  of  next  month. 
From  the  habits  imbibed  during  the  war,  and  from  the  opinion  of 
my  friends  that  I  should  make  but  an  indifferent  trader,  I  thought, 
upon  mature  consideration,  that  it  was  well  to  accept  it,  although 
the  salary  would  be  but  a  slender  support.  I  have  dependence  upon 
an  unwieldy  estate  of  Mrs.  Knox's  family,  and  upon  the  public  cer- 
tificates given  for  my  services ;  but  neither  of  these  is  productive, 
and  require  a  course  of  years  to  render  them  so.  In  the  mean  time, 
my  expenses  are  considerable,  and  require  some  funds  for  their  sup- 
ply. Congress  have  rendered  the  powers  and  duties  of  the  office 
respectable;  and  the  circumstances  of  my  appointment,  without 
solicitation  on  my  part,  were  flattering,  nine  States  out  of  eleven 
voting  for  me.  I  do  not  expect  to  move  my  family  to  New  York 
until  June  next." 

Washington  in  reply,  under  date  of  June  18th,  says : 
"  Without  a  compliment,  I  think  a  better  choice  could  not 
have  been  made." 


It  is  impossible  to  read  without  emotion  the  following 
lines  from  a  letter  written  by  General  Greene  a  short  time 
before  his  death,  which  occurred  on  June  19th.  It  bears 
Knox's  indorsement :  "  This  is  the  last  letter  I  ever 
received  from  my  truly  beloved  friend,  General  Greene." 
The  first  paragraph  refers  to  two  pieces  of  cannon  pre- 
sented to  him  by  order  of  Congress,  upon  which  Knox  had 
caused  appropriate  inscriptions  to  be  engraved.  Its  closing 
request  received  Knox's  earnest  and  friendly  attention :  — 

"  Mulberry  Grove,  12  March,  1786. 
"  I  thank  you  for  the  polite  attention  you  are  paying  to  my  pub- 
lic trophies ;  but  I  have  been  so  embarrassed  and  perplexed  in  my 
private  affairs  for  a  long  time  past,  which  originated  in  the  progress 
of  the  war,  that  I  have  but  little  spirit  or  pleasure  on  such  subjects. 
My  family  is  in  distress,  and  I  am  overwhelmed  with  difficulties ; 
and  God  knows  when  or  where  they  will  end.  I  work  hard  and 
live  poor,  but  I  fear  all  this  will  not  extricate  me.  .  .  .  Please  to 
give  me  your  opinion  upon  sending  George  [his  son]  to  the  Marquis 
La  Fayette,  agreeable  to  his  request.  Let  your  answer  be  as  candid 
as  I  trust  your  friendship  is  sincere." 

The  disturbances  in  Massachusetts  having  assumed  a 
serious  aspect,  in  October  we  find  Knox  at  Springfield, 
providing  for  the  security  of  the  arsenal  there.  To  a 
request  from  General  Shepard  of  the  State  militia  for  per- 
mission to  use  the  arms  and  stores  of  the  United  States 
there  collected,  Knox  replies  on  Jan.  27,  1787,  that  in  case 
the  insurgents  should  demonstrate  an  intention  of  seizing 
the  arsenal  or  any  of  the  stores,  and  it  could  not  other- 
wise be  successfully  defended,  "  part  might  be  taken  for 
the  protection  of  the  remainder,  to  be  returned  the  instant 
the  danger  should  subside." 

With  Washington,  Rufus  King,  Stephen  Higginson, 
General  Lincoln,  Nathaniel  Gorham,  and  other  prominent 
Federalists,  he  kept  up  an  active  correspondence  ;  and 
in  the  letters  which  follow  he  describes  vividly  the  state 


of  feeling  in  Massachusetts,  during  the  period  of  Shays's 
insurrection,  the  formation  of  the  Federal  Constitution 
and  its  adoption  by  that  State,  a  period  of  intense  excite- 
ment, especially  to  one  possessing  his  ardent  temper  and 
strong  convictions  upon  the  great  questions  at  issue. 


"  New  York,  23  Oct.  178G. 

..."  I  have  lately  been  far  eastward  of  Boston  on  private  busi- 
ness, and  was  no  sooner  returned  here  than  the  commotions  in  Mas- 
sachusetts hurried  me  back  to  Boston  on  a  public  account. 

"  Our  political  machine,  composed  of  thirteen  independent  sover- 
eignties, have  been  perpetually  operating  against  each  other  and 
against  the  federal  head  ever  since  the  peace.  The  powers  of  Con- 
gress are  totally  inadequate  to  preserve  the  balance  between  the 
respective  States,  and  oblige  them  to  do  those  things  which  are 
essential  for  their  own  welfare  or  for  the  general  good.  The  frame 
of  mind  in  the  local  legislatures  seems  to  be  exerted  to  prevent  the  • 
federal  constitution  from  having  any  good  effect.  The  machine 
|  works  inversely  to  the  public  good  in  all  its  parts :  not  only  is  State 
against  State,  and  all  against  the  federal  head,  but  the  States  within 
themselves  possess  the  name  only  without  having  the  essential  con- 
comitant of  government,  the  power  of  preserving  the  peace,  the  pro- 
tection of  the  liberty  and  property  of  the  citizens.  On  the  very 
first  impression  of  faction  and  licentiousness,  the  fine  theoretic 
government  of  Massachusetts  has  given  way,  and  its  laws  [are] 
trampled  under  foot.  Men  at  a  distance,  who  have  admired  our 
systems  of  government  unfounded  in  nature,  are  apt  to  accuse  the 
rulers,  and  say  that  taxes  have  been  assessed  too  high  and  collected 
too  rigidly.  This  is  a  deception  equal  to  any  that  has  been  hitherto 
entertained.  That  taxes  may  be  the  ostensible  cause  is  true,  but 
that  they  are  the  true  cause  is  as  far  remote  from  truth  as  light  from 
darkness.  The  people  who  are  the  insurgents  have  never  paid  any  or 
but  very  little  taxes.  But  they  see  the  weakness  of  government :  they 
feel  at  once  their  own  poverty  compared  with  the  opulent,  and  their 
own  force,  and  they  are  determined  to  make  use  of  the  latter  in 
order  to  remedy  the  former. 

"  Their  creed  is,  that  the  property  of  the  United  States  has  been 


protected  from  the  confiscations  of  Britain  by  the  joint  exertions  of 
all,  and  therefore  ought  to  be  the  common  property  of  all ;  and  he 
that  attempts  opposition  to  this  creed  is  an  enemy  to  equality  and 
justice,  and  ought  to  be  swept  from  the  face  of  the  earth.  In  a 
word,  they  are  determined  to  annihilate  all  debts  public  and  private, 
and  have  agrarian  laws,  which  are  easily  effected  by  the  means  of 
unfunded  paper  money,  which  shall  be  a  tender  in  all  cases  what- 
ever. The  numbers  of  these  people  may  amount,  in  Massachusetts, 
to  one-fifth  part  of  several  populous  counties ;  and  to  them  may  be 
added  the  people  of  similar  sentiments  from  the  States  of  Rhode 
Island,  Connecticut,  and  New  Hampshire,  so  as  to  constitute  a  body 
of  twelve  or  fifteen  thousand  desperate  and  unprincipled  men.  They 
are  chiefly  of  the  young  and  active  part  of  the  community,  more 
easily  collected  than  kept  together  afterwards.  But  they  will  prob- 
ably commit  overt  acts  of  treason,  which  will  compel  them  to  embody 
for  their  own  safety.  Once  embodied,  they  will  be  constrained  to 
submit  to  discipline  for  the  same  reason. 

"  Having  proceeded  to  this  length,  for  which  they  are  now  ripe, 
we  shall  have  a  formidable  rebellion  against  reason,  the  principle  of 
all  government,  and  against  the  very  name  of  liberty. 

"  This  dreadful  situation,  for  which  our  government  have  made 
no  adequate  provision,  has  alarmed  every  man  of  principle  and  prop- 
erty in  New  England.  They  start  as  from  a  dream,  and  ask  what 
can  have  been  the  cause  of  our  delusion  ?  What  is  to  give  us 
security  against  the  violence  of  lawless  men?  Our  government 
must  be  braced,  changed,  or  altered  to  secure  our  lives  and  property. 
We  imagined  that  the  mildness  of  our  government  and  the  wishes 
of  the  people  were  so  correspondent  that  we  were  not  as  other 
nations,  requiring  brutal  force  to  support  the  laws. 

"  But  we  find  that  we  are  men,  —  actual  men,  possessing  all  the 
turbulent  passions  belonging  to  that  animal,  and  that  we  must  have 
a  government  proper  and  adequate  for  him. 

"  The  people  of  Massachusetts,  for  instance,  are  far  advanced  in 
this  doctrine,  and  the  men  of  property  and  the  men  of  station  and 
principle  there  are  determined  to  endeavor  to  establish  and  protect 
them  in  their  lawful  pursuits ;  and,  what  will  be  efficient  in  all  cases 
of  internal  commotions  or  foreign  invasions,  they  mean  that  lib- 
erty shall  form  the  basis,  —  liberty  resulting  from  an  equal  and  firm 
administration  of  law. 


"  They  wish  for  a  general  government  of  unity,  as  they  see  that 
the  local  legislatures  must  naturally  and  necessarily  tend  to  retard 
the  general  government.  We  have  arrived  at  that  point  of  time  in 
which  we  are  forced  to  see  our  own  humiliation,  as  a  nation,  and 
ithat  a  progression  in  this  line  cannot  be  productive  of  happiness, 
private  or  public.  Something  is  wanting,  and  something  must  be 
done,  or  we  shall  be  involved  in  all  the  horror  of  failure,  and  civil 
war  without  a  prospect  of  its  termination^  Every  friend  to  the 
liberty  of  his  country  is  bound  to  reflect,  and  step  forward  to  pre- 
vent the  dreadful  consequences  which  shall  result  from  a  govern- 
ment of  events.  Unless  this  is  done,  we  shall  be  liable  to  be  ruled 
by  an  arbitrary  and  capricious  armed  tyranny,  whose  word  and  will 
must  be  law. 

"The  Indians  on  our  frontiers  are  giving  indisputable  evidence  of 
their  hostile  intentions.  Congress,  anxiously  desirous  of  meeting 
the  evils  on  the  frontiers,  have  unanimously  agreed  to  augment  the 
troops  now  in  service  to  a  legionary  corps  of  2,040  men.  This 
measure  is  important,  and  will  tend  to  strengthen  the  principles  of 
government,  if  necessary,  as  well  as  to  defend  the  frontiers.  I 
mention  the  idea  of  strengthening  government  as  confidential.  But 
the  State  of  Massachusetts  requires  the  greatest  assistance,  and 
Congress  are  fully  impressed  with  the  importance  of  supporting 
her  with  great  exertions." 


"  New  York,  28th  Jan.  1787. 

"  The  zeal  of  the  people  of  Boston  and  the  lower  country  in  favor 
of  government  is  a  good  sign,  and  will  probably  produce  the  results 
expected  from  it.  But,  supposing  the  present  disorders  quieted, 
some  measures  will  be  necessary  to  prevent  a  repetition  of  them. 
Although  the  patriotism  of  individuals  may  restore  [to]  government 
its  former  tone,  some  more  certain  principle  than  zeal  will  be  re- 
quisite to  retain  it.  Massachusetts,  by  an  exertion  in  the  present 
instance,  may  even  acquire  a  temporary  vigor ;  but  the  poor,  poor 
federal  government  is  sick  almost  unto  death. 

"  But  one  feeble  sign  of  life  for  upwards  of  two,  almost  three 
months  past.  No  Congress  but  for  part  of  one  day.  How  things 
are  to  be  worked  up  so  as  to  produce  by  its  ordinary  operations  a 
remedy  for  the  numerous  existing  disorders,  or  be  made  adequate  to 



the  great  purposes  of  a  nation,  which,  considering  its  vast  resources, 
ought  to  be  a  dignified  one,  it  is  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to  con- 

"  A  convention  is  proposed  by  Virginia,  and  acceded  to  by  Penn- 
sylvania, Jersey,  probably  New  York  and  South  Carolina,  to  consult 
on  some  plan  to  prevent  our  utter  ruin.  Perhaps  this  convention 
originated,  and  has  been  imbued  with  ideas,  far  short  of  a  radical 
reform.  Let  this  have  been  the  case,  may  it  notwithstanding  be 
turned  to  an  excellent  purpose  ?  Our  views  are  limited  in  all  things, 
we  can  only  see  from  point  to  point  at  a  time.  If  men  —  great 
men  —  are  sent  to  the  convention,  might  they  not  assist  the  vision  of 
the  Southern  delegates  in  such  a  manner  as  to  induce  the  adoption 
of  some  energetic  plan,  in  the  prosecution  of  which  we  might  rise  to 
national  dignity  and  happiness  ? 

"  Should  the  convention  agree  on  some  continental  constitution, 
and  propose  the  great  outlines,  either  through  Congress,  or  directly 
to  their  constituents,  the  respective  legislatures,  with  a  request  that 
State  conventions  might  be  assembled  for  the  sole  purpose  of  choos- 
ing delegates  to  a  continental  convention  in  order  to  consider  and 
decide  upon  a  general  government,  and  to  publish  it  for  general 
observance  in  the  same  manner  as  Congress  formed  and  decided 
upon  the  articles  of  confederation  and  perpetual  union,  would  not 
this,  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  be  a  government  derived  from  the 
people  and  assented  to  by  them  as  much  as  they  assented  to  the 
confederation  ?  If  it  be  not  the  best  mode,  is  it  not  the  best  which 
is  practicable  ?  If  so,  one  would  conclude  that  it  ought  to  be  em- 

"  The  Southern  States  are  jealous  enough  already.  If  New  Eng- 
land, and  particularly  Massachusetts,  should  decline  sending  delegates 
to  the  convention,  it  will  operate  in  a  duplicate  ratio  to  injure  us  by 
annihilating  the  rising  desire  in  the  Southern  States  of  effecting 
a  better  national  system,  and  by  adding  to  their  jealousies  of  the 
designs  of  New  England. 

"  I  have  dwelt  on  this  subject  to  you,  in  order  that  if  your  senti- 
ments should  correspond  with  mine,  that  you  should  influence  a 
choice  of  delegates  of  such  characters  as  would  possess  the  ability 
of  pointing  out  the  road  to  national  glory  and  felicity." 



"New  York,  14  Feb.  1787. 

"  While  I  thank  you  for  your  kind  communication  of  the  5th 
inst.,  I  most  heartily  congratulate  you  on  the  successful  events  con- 
tained therein  [the  suppression  of  the  Shays]  insurrection.  Were 
not  your  military  reputation  already  highly  established,  your  ma- 
noeuvres would  have  elevated  it ;  but,  circumstanced  as  you  are  in 
the  opinion  of  your  friends  and  the  world,  Shays's  rebellion  is  not  a 
field  in  which  you  could  gather  fresh  laurels.  It  will  be  a  sufficient 
satisfaction  to  you  that  you  have  dissipated  a  cloud  that  threatened 
a  violent  storm. 

"The  convention  proposed  by  the  commercial  convention  last 
September,  to  meet  in  Philadelphia  in  May  next,  engrosses  a  great 
portion  of  the  attention  of  the  men  of  reflection.  Some  are  for 
and  some  against  it;  but  the  preponderance  of  opinion  is  for  it. 
None  of  the  New  England  States  have  yet  chosen,  and  it  appears 
quite  problematical  whether  any  will  choose  unless  Massachusetts. 
The  convention  will  be  at  liberty  to  consider  more  diffusively  the 
defects  of  the  present  system  than  Congress  can,  who  are  the  exec- 
utors of  a  certain  system.  If  what  they  should  think  proper  to 
propose,  after  mature  deliberation,  should  require  the  assent  of  the 
people  of  the  respective  States,  which  is  supposed  necessary  in  an 
original  compact,  the  convention  would  recommend  to  the  respective 
legislatures  to  call  State  conventions  for  the  sole  purpose  of  choos- 
ing delegates  to  represent  them  in  a  continental  convention,  in  order 
to  consider  and  finally  decide  on  a  general  constitution,  and  to  pub- 
lish the  same  for  observance.  If  a  differently  constructed  repub- 
lican government  should  be  the  object,  the  shortest  road  to  it  will  be 
found  to  be  the  convention.  I  hope,  therefore,  that  Massachusetts 
will  choose,  and  that  you,  Mr.  King,  and  Mr.  Higginson  should  be 
three  of  the  delegates." 


"New  York,  15th  July,  1787. 
"  I  am  happy  the  convention  continue  together  without  agitating 
the  idea  of  adjournment.     If  their  attempts  should  prove  inadequate 
to  effect  capital  alterations,  yet  experience  will  be  gained,  which  may 
serve  important  purposes  on  another  occasion. 


"The  conduct  of  France  in  .establishing  provincial  assemblies  is 
seized  with  great  eagerness  by  the  advocates  for  the  State  systems, 
as  a  reason  against  any  alterations.  But  they  do  not  bring  into 
view  the  strong  cement  of  the  royal  authority  supported  by  200,000 

,  "  The  State  systems  are  the  accursed  thing  which  will  prevent  our 
[being  a  nation.  The  democracy  might  be  managed,  nay,  it  would 
/remedy  itself  after  being  sufficiently  fermented ;  but  the  vile  State 
governments  are  sources  of  pollution,  which  will  contaminate  the 
American  name  perhaps  for  ages.  Machines  that  must  produce  ill, 
but  cannot  produce  good,  smite  them  in  the  name  of  God  and 
the  people. 

"Eight  States  in  Congress,  —  they  yesterday  passed  with  great 
unanimity  a  system  of  government  for  the  western  territory." 


"  New  York,  24  Oct.  1787. 

"  You  will  have  received,  long  before  this  period,  the  result  of 
the  convention  which  assembled  in  Philadelphia  during  the  month 
of  May.  These  propositions  being  essentially  different  in  many 
respects  from  the  existing  confederation,  and  which  will  probably 
produce  different  national  effects,  are  contemplated  by  the  public  at 
large  with  an  anxious  attention.  The  discussions  are  commenced 
in  the  newspapers  and  in  pamphlets,  with  all  the  freedom  and  liber- 
ality which  characterize  a  people  who  are  searching,  by  their  own 
experience,  after  a  form  of  government  most  productive  of  hap- 
piness. To  speak  decisively  at  this  moment  of  the  fate  of  the 
proposed  constitution,  characterizes  effectually  the  person  giving  the 
opinion.  Habituated  as  I  have  been  for  a  long  time  to  desire  the  con- 
solidation of  the  powers  of  all  parts  of  this  country,  as  an  indispen- 
sable requisite  to  national  character  and  national  happiness,  I  receive 
the  propositions  as  they  are,  and  from  my  soul  I  wish  them  God 
speed !  The  transition  from  wishing  an  event,  to  believing  that  it 
will  happen,  is  easy  indeed.  I  therefore  am  led  to  a  strong  per- 
suasion that  the  proposed  government  will  be  generally  or  univer- 
sally adopted  in  the  course  of  twelve  or  fifteen  months. 

"  In  desiring  that  the  proposed  government  may  be  adopted,  I 
would  not  have  you  believe  that  I  think  it  all  perfect.  There  are 
several  things  in  it  that  I  confess  I  could  wish  to  see  altered.     But 


I  apprehend  no   alterations    can   he   effected  peaceably.     All    the 

States  represented  agreed  to  the  constitution  as  it  stands.     There 

are  substantial  reasons  to  believe  that  such  an  agreement  could  not 
again  be  produced  even  by  the  same  men." 


"  New  York,  14  Jan.  1788. 

"The  Massachusetts  convention  were  to  meet  on  the  9th.  The 
decision  of  Connecticut  will  influence,  in  a  degree,  their  determi- 
nation, and  I  have  no  doubt  the  constitution  will  be  adopted ;  but 
it  is  at  this  moment  questionable  whether  with  a  large  majority. 
There  are  three  parties  existing  in  that  State  at  present,  not  exceed- 
ingly different  in  their  respective  numbers,  but  greatly  differing  in 
wealth  and  ability. 

"  The  first  is  the  commercial  part  of  the  State,  to  whom  are  added 
all  the  men  of  considerable  property,  the  clergy,  the  lawyers,  in- 
cluding all  the  judges  of  all  the  courts;  and  all  the  officers  of  the 
late  army,  and  the  neighborhood  of  all  the  great  towns,  are  of  this 
party.  Its  strength  in  point  of  numbers  may  include  three-sevenths 
of  the  whole  State.  This  party  are  for  the  most  vigorous  govern- 
ment. Perhaps  many  of  them  would  have  been  more  pleased  with 
the  new  constitution,  had  it  been  still  more  analogous  to  the  British 

"  The  second  party  are  the  Eastern  part  of  the  State,  lying  beyond 
New  Hampshire,  and  formerly  the  province  of  Maine.  This  party 
are  mostly  looking  toward  the  erection  of  a  new  State ;  and  the 
majority  will  adoj^t  or  reject  the  new  constitution,  as  it  may  facilitate 
or  retard  their  designs,  without  much  regard  to  the  great  merits  of 
the  question.  This  party  may  not  be  far  less  than  two-sevenths  of 
the  State. 

"  The  third  party  are  the  insurgents  and  their  favorers,  the  great 
majority  of  whom  are  for  an  annihilation  of  debts,  public  and  pri- 
vate, and  therefore  cannot  approve  the  new  constitution.  This 
party  may  be  more  than  two-sevenths. 

"  If  the  first  and  second  party  agree,  as  will  be  most  probable,  and 
also  some  of  the  party  stated  as  in  the  insurgent  interest,  the  con- 
stitution will  be  adopted  by  a  great  majority,  notwithstanding  all 
exertions  to  the  contrary. 

"  Mr.  Samuel  Adams  has  declared  that  he  will  oppose  it,  to  the 



very  great  disgust  of  the  people  of  Bos'ton,  his  constituents.  It  is 
said  Boston  was  about  to  take  some  spirited  measures  to  prevent 
the  effect  of  his  opposition.  It  is  probable  the  debates  will  be 
lengthy,  and  that  the  convention  will  sit  one  month  before  they 

The  following  from  Rufus  King  to  Knox  sheds  new 
light  on  the  history  of  the  adoption  of  the  Federal  Con- 
stitution in  Massachusetts,  which  event  took  place  on 
February  6th.  By  it  we  see  that  the  Federalists  in  the 
Convention,  under  the  able  leadership  of  Rufus  King  and 
Theophilus  Parsons,  secured  the  support  of  Governor 
Hancock,  who  also  presided  over  the  deliberations  of  that 
body,  by  an  adroit  appeal  to  the  special  foible  of  the  gov- 
ernor, —  vanity.  Upon  such  apparently  trivial  causes  do 
the  destinies  of  nations  sometimes  turn ! 

"  Boston,  3  Feb.  1788. 

"Dear  General,  —  Hancock  has  committed  himself  in  our 
favor,  and  will  not  desert  the  cause.  Saturday's  '  Centinel '  will 
give  you  an  idea  of  his  plan.  The  Federalists  are.  united  in  that 
system ;  and,  as  Adams  has  joined  us  on  this  plan,  we  are  encour- 
aged to  think  our  success  is  probable. 

"  Gerry  keeps  close  at  Cambridge,  and  his  adherents  have  made 
no  motion  for  his  recall.  Mr.  Hancock's  propositions  were  yester- 
day committed  to  a  committee  of  two  members  from  each  county : 
they  meet  to-day,  and  we  hope  favorably  from  their  deliberations, 
a  majority  being  Federalists. 

"  The  final  question  will  probably  be  taken  in  five  or  six  days. 
You  will  be  astonished,  when  you  see  the  list  of  names,  that  such  a 
union  of  men  has  taken  place  on  this  question.  Hancock  will  here- 
after receive  the  universal  support  of  Bowdoin's  friends,  and  ice  tell 
him  that  if  Virginia  does  not  unite,  which  is  'problematical,  that  he 
is  considered  as  the  only  fair  candidate  for  President?' 

In  a  letter  to  La  Fayette,  dated  New  York,  26  April, 
1788,  Knox,  after  reciting  the  facts  and  probabilities 
respecting  the  adoption  of  the  Federal  Constitution,  goes 
on  to  say  :  — 


"  As  to  Rhode  Island,  no  little  State  of  Greece  ever  exhibited 
greater  turpitude  than  she  does.  Paper  money  and  Tender  Law 
engross  her  attention  entirely:  this  is,  in  other  words,  plundering 
the  orphan  and  widow  by  virtue  of  laws. 

"  Mrs.  Greene  and  her  little  family  you  so  kindly  inquire  after 
are  seated  at  Wethersfield  in  Connecticut,  under  the  auspices  of  our 
friend,- Colonel  Wadsworth.  Mrs.  Greene  is  most  honorably  and  indus- 
triously employed  in  the  education  of  her  children.  Colonel  Wads- 
worth  is  anxious  George  should  be  sent  to  France,  to  which  Mrs. 
Greene  consents.  It  is  possible  the  young  gentleman  may  be  ad- 
dressed to  your  care  in  the  course  of  one  or  two  packets  hence." 

On  the  15th  of  May,  he  writes  to  him  again  upon  this 
subject,  as  follows  :  — 

"Mr.  Barlow  of  Connecticut,  author  of  the  poem  entitled  the 
'  Vision  of  Columbus,'  whom  I  recommend  to  your  kindness,  will 
deliver  you  this  letter,  and  also  he  will  present  to  you  the  son  of 
our  late  esteemed  friend,  General  Greene. 

"I  am  perfectly  impressed  with  the  belief  that  you  will  place 
him  in  such  a  situation  as  will  at  the  same  time  inrpress  the  best 
morals  and  the  most  enlarged  information. 

"  The  classics  and  modern  languages,  as  being  the  work  of  mem- 
ory, will  probably  constitute  his  first  studies,  together  with  learning 
the  necessary  personal  exercises  to  form  his  manners.  Mathematics, 
geography,  astronomy,  and  the  art  of  drawing  will  follow  of 

"  I  flatter  myself  that,  by  being  entirely  removed  to  a  new  sphere, 
he  will  necessarily  imbibe  the  habits  which  are  in  circulation  there, 
and  that  he  will  be  formed  on  such  a'  scale  as  to  be  an  honor  to  the 
memory  of  his  father,  and  the  pride  of  his  mother  and  his  other 

"  Ilis  disposition  is  good,  and  in  my  opinion,  with  a  proper  edu- 
cation, he  promises  to  make  a  worthy  character :  certain  I  am  that 
under  your  auspices  he  will  possess  the  best  chances  for  hap- 

100  LIFE   OF  HENRY   KNOX. 

One  of  his  early  playmates  and  friends,  Rev.  David 
McClure,  writes  as  follows :  — 

"  East  Windsor,  Dec.  22,  1788. 

"Dear  Sir,  —  On  the  footing  of  that  juvenile  friendship  and 
acquaintance  with  you  with  which  I  have  been  honored,  and  which 
was  kept  alive  to  our  riper  years,  I  now  do  myself  the  pleasure  to 
address  a  line  to  you,  to  assure  you  of  my  respectful  and  affection- 
ate remembrance  of  you,  and  of  the  satisfaction  with  which  I  some- 
times call  to  mind  those  scenes  of  innocent  amusement  and  play 
in  which  we  were  mutually  engaged  when  we  were  boys. 

"  I  have  often  thought  of  our  attempts  to  imitate  the  man  who 
flew  from  the  steeple  of  the  North  Church,  by  sliding  down  an  oar 
from  the  small  buildings  in  your  father's  house-yard  at  Wheeler's 
Point ;  and  by  letting  fly  little  wooden  men  from  the  garret  win- 
dow on  strings.     Have  you  forgotten  that  diversion  ? 

"  I  have  often  rejoiced  with  gratitude  that  the  Supreme  Disposer 
of  all  events  has  preserved  you  through  the  dangers  you  have 
encountered,  and  made  you  so  great  a  blessing  to  your  country,  for 
whose  happiness  and  glory  your  labors  have  been  directed.  May 
you  ever  possess  that  increasing  esteem  and  affection  from  your  coun- 
try which  your  services  and  merits  entitle  you  to. 

"  I  am  settled  agreeably  in  this  place,  five  miles  from  Hartford, 
in  which  I  have  lived  more  than  two  years,  and  to  which  I  removed 
from  my  former  parish  in  Hampton,  New  Hampshire." 

To  which  Knox  replies :  — 

"  New  York,  25  Jan.  1789. 

"My  dear  Sir,  —  Your  esteemed  favor  of  the  22d  ult.  gave 
me  the  most  sensible  pleasure.  Our  juvenile  sports,  and  the  joy- 
ful sensations  they  excited,  are  fresh  in  my  mind ;  and  what  to  me 
renders  the  remembrance  peculiarly  precious  is,  that  I  always  flat- 
tered myself  that  our  hearts  and  minds  were  similarly  constructed. 

"  Our  situations,  however,  have  been  widely  different.  You  have 
been  deeply  exploring  the  natural  and  moral  world,  in  order  to  im- 
press on  the  minds  of  your  fellow-mortals  their  relative  connection 
with  the  great  scale  of  intelligent  being ;  leading  them  by  all  the 
powers  of  persuasion   to  happiness  and  humble  adoration  of  the 

MRS.  KNOX  A  LEADER  OF  SOCIETY.       101 

Supreme  Head  of  the  universe ;  while  I  have  been  but  too  much 
entangled  with  the  little  things  of  a  little  globe.  But,  as  it  is  part 
of  my  belief  that  we  are  responsible  only  for  the  light  we  possess, 
I  hope  we  have  both  acted  our  parts  in  such  a  manner  as  that  a 
reflection  on  the  past  will  give  us  more  pleasure  than  pain,  and  that 
we  shall  possess  a  well-grounded  hope  of  a  happy  immortality. 

"  My  brother  William,  who  is  with  me,  is  the  only  one  beside 
myself  left  of  my   father's  family."  * 

During  Knox's  career  as  Secretary  of  War,  Mrs.  Knox 
was  one  of  the  leaders  of  fashionable  society  at  the  seat 
of  government,  and  as  such  attracted  considerable  notice. 
From  the  manuscript  Journal  of  Dr.  Manasseh  Cutler, 
under  date  of  July  7,  1787,  we  extract  as  follows.  The 
worthy  doctor  was  evidently  unaccustomed  to  the  coiffure 
of  the  fashionable  lady  of  that  day. 

"  Dined  with  General  Knox  [at  New  York],  introduced  to  his  lady 
and  a  French  nobleman,  Marquis  Lotbiniere.  Several  other  gentle- 
men dined  with  us.  Our  dinner  was  served  in  high  style,  much  in 
the  French  taste.  Mrs.  Knox  is  very  gross,  but  her  manners  are 
easy  and  agreeable.  She  is  sociable,  and  would  be  agreeable,  were 
it  not  for  her  affected  singularity  in  dressing  her  hair.  She  seems 
to  mimic  the  military  style,  which  to  me  is  very  disgusting  in  a 
female.  Her  hair  in  front  is  craped  at  least  a  foot  high,  much  in 
the  form  of  a  churn  bottom  upward,  and  topped  off  with  a  wire 
skeleton  in  the  same  form,  covered  with  black  gauze,  which  hangs 
in  streamers  down  to  her  back.  Her  hair  behind  is  a  large  braid,  and 
confined  with  a  monstrous  crooked  comb." 

*  This  brother  writes  from  London  (26  June,  1783) :  "  I  have  a  very 
respectable  set  of  acquaintances  in  this  country  as  well  as  in  France. 
Among  the  number  here  is  the  very  respectable  and  venerable  General 
Oglethorpe.  I  passed  Sunday  and  Monday  with  his  family  at  their  country 
house.  He  desired  me  through  you  to  make  his  very  particular  compliments 
to  General  Washington,  of  whose  virtues  and  talents  I  have  the  pleasure  to 
find  he  has  the  highest  opinion." 

William  Knox  soon  afterward  became  subject  to  occasional  fits  of  derange- 
ment, and  died  about  1797. 


102  LIFE   OF   HENRY  KNOX. 

"July  19. 
"  Dined  with  General  Knox  ;  about  forty-four  gentlemen,  officers 
of  the  late  continental  army,  and  among  them  Baron  Steuben. 
General  Knox  gave  us  an  entertainment  in  the  style  of  a  prince. 
Every  gentleman  at  the  table  was  of  the  '  Cincinnati'  except  my- 
self, and  wore  his  appropriate  badge." 

Mrs.  William  S.  Smith  writes  from  New  York  in  1788 
to  her  mother,  Mrs.  John  Adams :  — 

"  General  and  Mrs.  Knox  have  been  very  polite  and  attentive 
to  us.  Mrs.  Knox  is  much  altered  from  the  character  she  used 
to  have.  She  is  neat  in  her  dress,  attentive  to  her  family,  and  very 
fond  of  her  children.  But  her  size  is  enormous :  I  am  frightened 
wrhen  I  look  at  her ;  I  verily  believe  that  her  waist  is  as  large  as 
three  of  yours  at  least.     The  general  is  not  half  so  fat  as  he  was." 

From  Griswold's  "  Republican  Court  "  we  take  the  fol- 
lowing :  — 

"  Mrs.  Knox  had  been  one  of  the  heroines  of  the  Revolution, 
nearly  as  well  known  in  the  camp  as  her  husband.  She  and  her 
husband  were,  perhaps,  the  largest  couple  in  the  city,  and  both  were 
favorites,  he  for  really  brilliant  conversation  and  unfailing  good 
humor,  and  she  as  a  lively  and  meddlesome  but  amiable  leader  of 
society,  without  whose  co-operation  it  was  believed  by  many  be- 
sides herself  that  nothing  could  be  properly  done  in  the  drawing- 
room  or  the  ball-room,  or  any  place  indeed  where  fashionable  men 
and  women  sought  enjoyment.  The  house  of  the  Secretary  was  in 
Broadway,  and  it  was  the  scene  of  a  liberal  and  genial  hospitality." 

Upon  the  formation  of  the  new  government  in  May, 
1789,  Knox  was  continued  in  his  post  of  War  Secretary 
by  Washington.*  "  To  his  past  services  and  an  unques- 
tioned integrity,"  says  Judge  Marshall,  "  he  was  admitted 
to  unite  a  sound  understanding ;  and  the  public  judgment 
as  well  as  that  of  the  chief  magistrate  pronounced  him  in 

*  His  commission  bears  date  Sept.  12,  1789. 


all  respects  competent  to  the  station  he  filled."  One  of 
his  first  acts  was  to  provide  for  his  friend,  General  Lin- 
coln, to  whom,  on  August  4,  he  wrote  as  follows :  "  Al- 
though I  do  not  conceive  the  office  of  Collector  to  the 
Port  of  Boston  adequate  to  the  merits  of  my  friend,  yet, 
as  it  is  the  best  thing  that  can  be  offered  at  present,  I 
sincerely  congratulate  you  on  the  appointment." 

The  framing  of  a  militia  sj^stem  for  the  country  received 
the  early  attention  of  the  Secretary.  He  had,  in  April,  1783, 
communicated  to  Washington  his  ideas  upon  this  subject,  to 
the  effect  that  there  should  be  a  uniform  system  and  annual 
encampments  ;  each  State  to  have  an  arsenal  and  a  suffi- 
cient quantity  of  arms  and  ammunition  ;  that  the  United 
States  should  have  some  troops  for  the  security  of  the 
frontiers,  and  at  West  Point,  "  the  key  to  America,  which 
has  been  so  advantageous  in  the  defence  of  the  United 
States,  and  is  still  so  important  in  that  view,  as  ivell  as  of 
preserving  the  Union  ;  "  that  a  complete  system  of  military 
education  should  be  formed  and  adopted ;  that  there 
should  be  three  military  academies  where  the  United  States 
arsenals  are,  —  one  in  the  Northern,  one  in  the  Middle,  and 
one  in  the  Southern  States ;  and  that  a  code  of  military 
laws  should  be  framed  and  inspectors  appointed  by  Con- 
gress, who  should  annually  examine  the  academies  and 
report  to  Congress. 

Knox's  "  Plan  for  the  General  Arrangement  of  the 
Militia  of  the  United  States,"  reported  to  Congress  18 
March,  1786,  provided  for  the  embodiment  of  all  male 
citizens  from  eighteen  to  sixty,  into  three  classes,  —  "  The 
Advanced  Corps,"  "  The  Main  Corps,"  and  "  The  Re- 
served Corps  ;  "  the  form  to  be  that  of  the  legion ;  each 
legion  to  consist  of  153  commissioned  officers  and  2,880 
non-commissioned  officers  and  privates,  and  to  be  com- 
manded by  a  major-general.     The  failure  of  this  plan  is 


partly  attributable  to  the  unpropitious   circumstances  of 
the  times. 

Of  that  prepared  by  him  in  January,  1790,  similar  in  its 
general  features  to  the  preceding  one,  his  friend,  General 
Lincoln,  gave  him,  at  his  request,  this  opinion  :  — 

"  Though  it  would  make  ours  the  strongest  militia  in  the  world, 
the  people  will  not  adopt  it  here,  if  I  know  Massachusetts.  The  ex- 
pense, pay  of  officers,  no  pay  of  men,  the  burden  on  masters,  calling 
the  youth  indiscriminately,  disfranchisement  for  a  time  in  certain 
cases,  officers  excluded  from  actual  service,  subjection  to  a  draft  for 
a  service  of  three  years,  &c,  will  be  magnified  here,  and  damn  the 

Colonel  Jackson  also  informed  him  that  his  plan  was  not 
very  well  received  in  Massachusetts.  The  opinion  of  mili- 
tary men  abroad  seems  to  have  been  favorable  to  Knox's 
plan,  as  is  seen  in  this  extract  from  a  letter  from  General 
Miranda,  the  South  American  patriot,  whose  acquaintance 
he  had  made  in  Boston  in  1784  :  *  — 

"London,  Feb.  2,  1791. 

"  I  thank  you  for  your  estimable  letter  of  the  6th  September,  17'JO, 
that  your  brother  delivered  to  me  here.  I  am  very  happy  to  see 
the  flourishing  state  to  which  North  America  is  grown,  and  wish 
that  my  own  poor  miserable  country  in  the  South  could  say  the 
same.     They  can  only  answer :  — 

i  Video  meliora  prorogue,  deteriora  sequor.' 

"  I  have  seen  with  great  pleasure  your  plan  for  the  establishment 
of  a  militia,  &c.  General  Melville,  and  some  other  professional  men 
here  that  have  considered  the  same  subject,  admired  it  very  much ; 
and  I  perfectly  agree  with  you,  that  the  form  of  the  Roman  Legion 

*  Francisco  de  Miranda  was  born  in  Caracas  about  1750.  He  travelled  on 
foot  through  a  great  part  of  America  and  Europe  ;  was  a  general  of  division 
under  Dumouriez,  in  1792-93  ;  was  afterward  engaged  in  abortive  attempts 
to  shake  off  the  Spanish  yoke  from  his  native  province,  and  having  been 
betrayed  by  Bolivar  to  the  Spaniards  ended  his  days  in  a  dungeon  at  Cadiz, 
in  1816. 


is  infinitely  superior  to  any  other  organization  or  military  arrange- 
ment Ave  know  yet." 

The  legionary  formation  was  for  a  time  adopted  as  the 
regular  establishment  of  the  United  States;  but  the  plan 
for  the  militia,  though  it  had  the  approval  of  Washington, 
was  not  regarded  with  favor,  and  a  system  less  onerous  as 
well  as  less  energetic  was  at  length  adopted. 

The  policy  to  be  pursued  towards  the  various  Indian 
tribes  of  the  United  States  demanded  a  large  share  of 
Knox's  attention,  and  in  it  he  was  guided  by  enlarged  and 
liberal  views.  In  the  minutes  which  he  furnished  for  the 
President's  speech,  in  October,  1791,  he  advocates  an  impar- 
tial administration  of  justice  towards  them,  suggests  that  the 
mode  of  alienating  their  lands  should  be  properly  defined 
and  regulated,  and  that  the  advantages  of  commerce  and 
the  blessings  of  civilization  should  be  extended  to  them  ; 
and  that  proper  penalties  should  be  provided  for  such  law- 
less persons  as  shall  violate  the  treaties  with  them.  "  A 
system,"  he  goes  on  to  say,  "  producing  the  free  operation 
of  the  mild  principles  of  religion  and  benevolence  towards 
an  unenlightened  race  of  men  would  at  once  be  highly 
economical  and  honorable  to  the  national  character." 

A  treaty  with  the  Creek  Nation  of  Indians  was  signed 
on  Aug.  7,  1790,  by  Knox,  as  sole  commissioner,  in  behalf 
of  the  United  States ;  and  by  Alexander  McGillivray  and 
twenty-three  chiefs,  in  behalf  of  the  Creek  nation,  by 
whom  an  extensive  territory  claimed  by  Georgia  was  re- 
linquished to  that  State.  McGillivray  was  at  the  same 
time  commissioned  a  brigadier-general  in  the  army  of  the 
United  States. 

The  unsuccessful  expeditions  of  Harmar  in  1790,  and 
of  St.  Clair  in  1791,  against  the  North-western  Indians, 
were  followed,  in  1794,  by  the  victorious  campaign  of 
Wayne,  and  by  the  treaty  of  Greenville  in  August,  1795, 


by  which  peace  was  established,  and  the  post  of  Detroit, 
together  with  a  considerable  tract  of  land,  ceded  to  the 
United  States. 

The  friends  of  Jefferson  then  Secretary  of  State,  and 
the  partisans  of  the  French  Revolution,  assailed  with  malig- 
nant hostility  the  administration  of  Washington  ;  and  Knox 
as  its  firm  supporter,  and  while  the  operations  against  the 
Indians  were  yet  unsuccessful,  came  in  for  a  large  share  of 
vituperation  and  calumny.  Among  the  many  ardent  and 
devoted  friends  of  Knox  was  Major  Samuel  Shaw,  a  fel- 
low-townsman, and  his  aide  and  secretary  during  the  war, 
and  who  was  deservedly  held  by  him  in  the  highest  esteem. 
"When  Major  Shaw  returned  [from  a  foreign  voyage], 
in  1792,"  says  his  biographer,  Hon.  Josiah  Quincy,  "  and 
witnessed  the  assaults  party  spirit  was  making  upon  his 
early  patron  and  constant  friend,  a  man  he  so  loved  and 
respected,  his  indignation,  heightened  by  the  sentiment  of 
gratitude,  was  irrepressible,  and  on  April  15th  he  wrote 
Knox  as  follows  :  — 

"  What  shall  we  say,  my  dear  friend,  to  a  certain  publication, 
which,  under  the  title  of  '  Strictures,  fyc.,'  fabricated  in  Boston,  is 
now  circulating  here,  and  no  doubt  has  made  its  appearance  with 
you  ?  The  shameful  violation  of  decency  and  truth,  the  virulence 
and  rancor  of  his  remarks  on  the  Secretary  at  War,  show  the 
wickedness  and  malice  of  the  author  of  this  production  in  such 
glowing  colors,  as  must  expose  him  to  general  contempt  and  de- 
testation. Happy  must  you  feel,  —  thrice  happy  am  I  in  the  re- 
flection, —  that  so  long  as  the  American  name  shall  last,  yours  will  be 
handed  down  with  distinction  in  the  list  of  the  *  valued  file  ; '  and  the 
artillery,  which  formed  under  your  auspices  equalled  every  exigence 
of  war,  will  ever  be  regarded  as  the  child  of  your  genius.  Well  do 
I  remember  the  honorable  testimony  of  the  gallant  La  Fayette 
amidst  the  thunder  of  our  batteries  on  the  lines  at  Yorktown.  '  We 
fire,'  exclaimed  he,  with  a  charming  enthusiasm,  '  better  than  the 
French'  (and  faith  we  did  too).  To  this  I  made  a  suitable  objec- 
tion.    His  reply  was,  —  *  Upon  honor,  I  speak  the  truth  ;  and  the 


progress  of  your  artillery  is  regarded  by  everybody  as  one  of  the 
wonders  of  the  Revolution.'  Shame,  then,  to  this  infamous  scrib- 
bler! and  let  his  heart  burst  under  the  idea  that  your  country  has 
derived  the  most  substantial  benefit  from  your  services  ;  that  the 
good  and  wise  acknowledge  your  merit ;  and  that  Humphreys  was 
not  less  just  than  poetical  in  characterizing  by  a  single  line  the  man 
to  whose  abilities  he  had  been  witness  in  the  various  events  of  a  long 
and  trying  war  :  — 

'  Ere  Steuben  brought  tbe  Prussian  lore  from  far, 
And  Knox  created  all  the  stores  of  war.'  " 

Under  date  of  May  10, 1794,  Knox  writes  to  Jackson  :  — 

..."  I  am  extremely  anxious  that  it #  should  be  completed  in 
the  course  of  the  year,  although  I  have  fears  that  I  shall  not  be  able 
to  go  there  this  summer.  The  new  corps  of  artillery,  the  frigates, 
the  fortifications,  —  all  new  business  added  to  my  former  employ- 
ments, together  with  the  incessant  application  indispensably  required 
by  the  political  state  of  affairs  in  which  I  have  more  share  than  I 
am  well  qualified  for,  —  form  to  a  cloud  which  almost  obscures  my 
prospect  of  getting  away  in  any  thing  like  due  season.  I  cannot 
leave  my  situation  in  this  critical  state  of  affairs.  The  services  of 
my  whole  political  life  would  serve,  in  the  opinion  of  those  who  I 
esteem,  in  no  degree  to  form  a  counterbalance  to  my  quitting  at 
this  crisis.  I  therefore  must  stay  until  the  storm  shall  have  passed, 
or  I  be  wrecked  in  the  general  catastrophe  threatened  by  various 

"You  mention  the  commissary  of  military  stores.  This  office 
Mr.  Hodgdon  has  been  possessed  of  in  a  different  shape  for  several 
years,  and  has  it  now.  I  should  hope  something  may  occur  which 
would  be  agreeable  to  you ;  but  my  own  opinion  is,  that  neither  you 
nor  I  ought  to  be  in  public  life,  but  [should]  make  some  exertions 
whereby  we  may  better  our  fortunes.     Whether  I  shall  ever  have 

*  Alluding  to  his  mansion-house  at  Thomaston,  begun  in  1793,  and  fin- 
ished the  next  year,  at  a  cost  of  not  far  from  $15,000.  Local  tradition,  usually 
unreliable,  has  greatly  exaggerated  this,  as  well  as  other  facts  connected  with 
the  mansion  and  its  occupants.  Eor  instance,  it  said,  among  other  things, 
that  the  house  cost  #50,000;  that  one  hundred  beds  were  made,  an  ox  and 
twenty  sheep  often  slaughtered  in  a  week ;  and  that  twenty  saddle  horses 
and  corresponding  carriages  were  kept  to  accommodate  guests  and  sojourners. 

108  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

sufficient  time  to  lay  a  practical  scheme  for  such  an  undertaking  I 
cannot  tell,  but  certainly  not  while  I  remain  in  public  life." 

Knox  succeeded  in  procuring  for  his  old  friend  the  ap- 
pointment of  United  States  naval  agent,  and,  as  such,  he 
superintended  the  building  of  the  "  Constitution,"  one  of 
the  six  frigates  the  construction  of  which  was  ordered  by 
the  Act  of  27  March,  1794. 

The  outrages  of  the  pirates  of  the  Mediterranean  on 
the  persons  and  property  of  our  citizens,  together  with  the 
importance  of  providing  defences  for  our  extensive  sea- 
board, forcibly  impressed  Knox's  mind  with  the  necessity 
of  a  naval  force.  Jefferson  and  himself  were  the  only  sup- 
porters in  the  cabinet  of  the  establishment  of  a  navy,  but 
his  endeavors  were  at  length  carried  into  effect  by  his  san- 
guine confidence  in  its  success  and  his  strenuous  efforts  for 
its  accomplishment.  The  result  soon  vindicated  the  wis- 
dom of  the  measure,  and  our  navy  has  ever  since  been 
identified  with  the  glory  and  prosperity  of  the  country. 
Knox  performed  the  duties  of  both  departments  with  equal 
zeal  and  ability  until  the  imperious  claims  of  private  in- 
terest compelled  him  to  turn  his  attention  to  the  long- 
neglected  concerns  of  his  family. 

The  expenses  of  his  open  hospitality  far  exceeded  the 
limited  compensation  of  his  office,  and  he  had  for  some 
time  been  determined  to  retire  from  public  life.  As  early 
as  in  September,  1792,  writing  to  his  daughter  Lucy  re- 
specting this  subject,  he  says  :  — 

"  Having  arrived,  or  nearly  so,  at  the  summit  of  human  age  and 
vigor,  and  being  ere  long  to  slope  my  down-hill  course,  objects 
appear  exceedingly  different  to  my  view  from  what  they  used  to 
do  in  my  ascent.  .  .  .  All  my  life  hitherto  I  have  been  pursuing 
illusive  bubbles  which  burst  on  being  grasped,  and  'tis  high  time  I 
should  quit  public  life  and  attend  to  the  solid  interests  of  my  family, 
so  that  they  may  not  be  left  dependent  on  the  cold  hand  of  charity ; 


and  in  order  to  retire  with  reputation,  it  was  indispensably  neces- 
sary that  I  should  not  afford  subject  for  calumny  to  feed  upon,  by 
neglecting  for  a  moment  the  services  belonging  to  my  station.  I 
wish  for  ease,  but  in  order  to  enjoy  it  I  must  make  some  exertions 
for  pecuniary  objects." 

The  President  had  expressed  a  desire  that  he  would  re- 
main with  him  till  the  close  of  his  own  official  career,  and 
had  from  time  to  time  induced  him  to  continue,  but  at 
length  reluctantly  accepted  his  resignation.  The  follow- 
ing correspondence  ensued :  — 


"Philadelphia,  28  Dec.  1794. 

"Sir,  —  In  pursuance  of  the  verbal  communications  heretofore 
submitted,  it  is  with  the  utmost  respect  that  I  beg  leave  officially  to 
request  you  will  please  to  consider  that,  after  the  last  day  of  the 
present  month  and  year,  my  services  as  Secretary  for  the  Depart- 
ment of  War  will  cease. 

"  I  have  endeavored  to  place  the  business  of  the  department  in 
such  a  train  that  my  successor  may  without  much  difficulty  com- 
mence the  duties  of  his  station.  Any  explanations  or  assistance 
which  he  may  require  shall  be  cordially  afforded  by  me. 

"  After  having  served  my  country  nearly  twenty  years,  the 
greatest  portion  of  which  under  your  immediate  auspices,  it  is  with 
extreme  reluctance  I  find  myself  constrained  to  withdraw  from  so 
honorable  a  situation. 

"  But  the  indispensable  claims  of  a  wife  and  a  growing  and 
numerous  family  of  children,  whose  sole  hopes  of  comfortable  com- 
petence rest  upon  my  life  and  exertions,  will  no  longer  permit  me 
to  neglect  duties  so  sacred. 

"  But,  in  whatever  situation  I  shall  be,  I  shall  recollect  your  con- 
fidence and  kindness  with  all  the  fervor  and  purity  of  affection  of 
which  a  grateful  heart  can  be  susceptible." 


110  LIFE   OF   HENRY  KNOX. 


"  Philadelphia,  Dec.  30,  1794. 

"  Sm,  —  The  considerations  which  you  have  often  suggested  to 
me,  and  are  repeated  in  your  letter  of  the  28th  instant,  as  requiring 
your  departure  from  your  present  office,  are  such  as  to  preclude  the 
possibility  of  my  urging  your  continuance  in  it. 

"  This  being  the  case,  I  can  only  wish  that  it  was  otherwise. 
I  cannot  suffer  you,  however,  to  close  your  public  service  without 
uniting,  with  the  satisfaction  which  must  arise  in  your  own  mind 
from  a  conscious  rectitude,  my  most  perfect  persuasion  that  you 
have  deserved  well  of  your  country.  My  personal  knowledge  of  your 
exertions,  while  it  authorizes  me  to  hold  this  language,  justifies  the 
sincere  friendship  which  I  have  ever  borne  for  you,  and  which  will 
accompany  you  in  every  situation  of  life.  Being,  with  affectionate 
regard,  Always  yours." 

Leaving  Philadelphia  on  June  1,  1795,  he  visited  his 
native  town,  where,  on  the  12th,  he  was  invited  to  a  pub- 
lic dinner  by  his  friends  and  fellow-citizens.  Continuing 
his  journey,  he  was  publicly  welcomed  on  the  22d  by  the 
people  of  Thomaston,  where  he  had  fixed  bis  future  resi- 
dence. He  at  once  applied  himself  to  the  cultivation  and 
improvement  of  an  extensive  tract  of  land  in  the  then  dis- 
trict of  Maine,  called  the  Muscongus  or  Waldo  patent, 
part  of  which  Mrs.  Knox  inherited  from  her  grandfather, 
General  Waldo,  and  the  residue  of  which  he  had  bought  of 
the  other  heirs.  .  It  lay  between  the  Kennebec  and  Penob- 
scot rivers,  included  those  of  Muscongus  and  St.  George, 
and  comprised  a  large  portion  of  what  are  now  the  counties 
of  Lincoln,  Waldo,  and  Penobscot.  As  much  of  this  land 
was  in  the  possession  of  squatters,  it  was  a  task  of  no  little 
difficulty  to  quiet  their  pretensions ;  but  his  firm  yet  con- 
ciliatory course  eventually  overcame  all  obstacles.  His 
liberality  and  beneficence,  together  with  the  improvements 


which  he  suggested  and  carried  into  effect,  soon  rendered 
his  residence  among  them  a  blessing  felt  and  acknowledged 
by  all. 

Prior  to  his  removal,  a  splendid  mansion  had  been 
erected  at  the  head  of  St.  George's  River,  having  a  de- 
lightful prospect  in  front,  extending  eight  or  ten  miles 
down  that  river ;  and  in  this  charming  spot,  to  which  he 
gave  the  name  of  Montpelier,*  in  the  society  of  his  wife 
and  children,  and  of  the  distinguished  visitors  who  from 
time  to  time  enjoyed  his  hospitality,  Knox  enjoyed  a  larger 
share  of  happiness  than  he  had  probably  ever  known 
before.  His  wife,  who  was  truly  his  congenial  spirit,  was 
also  well  satisfied  to  retire  from  scenes  of  gayety  and 
fashion  to  the  privacy  of  domestic  life  and  the  loved  society 
of  her  children.  She  is  described  as  having  been,  even  in 
her  latter  days,  when  upwards  of  sixty,  a  remarkably  fine- 
looking  woman,  with  brilliant  black  eyes,  and  a  blooming 
complexion.  Her  style  of  dress,  which  was  somewhat 
peculiar,  and  her  dignified  manners,  gave  her  the  appear- 
ance of  being  taller  than  she  really  was. 

"  Mrs.  Knox,"  says  the  Duke  de  la  Rochefoucauld 
Liancourt,  "  is  a  lady  of  whom  you  conceive  a  still  higher 
opinion  the  longer  you  are  acquainted  with  her.  Seeing 
her  in  Philadelphia,  you  think  of  her  only  as  a  fortunate 
player  at  whist ;  at  her  house  in  the  country  you  discover 
that  she  possesses  sprightliness,  knowledge,  a  good  heart, 
and  an  excellent  understanding."  Of  her  daughter  (after- 
ward Mrs.  Thatcher),  he  says,  that  "  at  their  house  in 
Maine  she  lays  aside  her  excessive  timidity,  and  you 
admire  alike  her  beauty,  wit,  and  cheerfulness  ; "  and  of 
the  General,  "  he  is  one  of  the  worthiest  men  I  have  ever 
known :  lively,  agreeable  ;  valuable  equally  as  an  excel- 

*  This  elegant  residence  is  no  longer  standing,  and  its  site  is  now  occu- 
pied by  the  station  of  the  Knox  and  Lincoln  Railway. 


lent  friend  and  as  an  engaging  companion."  Among  his 
distinguished  guests  were  Senator  Bingham  and  his  family, 
and  several  French  refugees  of  celebrity,  such  as  Louis 
Phillipe,  Talleyrand,  the  Count  de  Beaumetz,  and  the 
Duke  de  Liancourt.  The  latter,  whose  wardrobe  was  re- 
plenished by  the  munificence  of  Knox,  is  said  to  have  ex- 
claimed despondingly  one  day  while  here,  as  he  struck  his 
forehead  with  his  hand,  "  I  have  three  dukedoms  on  my 
head,  and  not  one  whole  coat  on  my  back."  Knox  wrote 
him  as  follows  from  Boston,  in  July,  1797,  and  the  duke 
responded  by  again  visiting  him  the  next  September :  — 

"My  dear  Duke,  —  I  have  received  with  peculiar  sensibility 
your  kind  letter  of  the  2d  of  this  month.  Under  every  vicissitude 
of  human  affairs  I  shall  love  and  esteem  you  as  a  brother.  You 
are  not  truly  informed  of  my  having  a  hatred  for  the  French  nation. 
Their  great  qualities  of  gallantry  and  magnanimity  are  above,  far 
above,  my  eulogy.  But  as  it  relates  to  this  country,  they  are  acting 
under  a  mistaken  impression  of  our  being  attached  to  the  British 
nation.  I  hope  time  and  better  information  will  lessen  the  resent- 
ment of  France  against  this  country :  it  cannot  be  for  their  happi- 
ness or  ours  that  we  should  quarrel.  ...  I  have  been  detained  here 
by  a  variety  of  circumstances  until  this  time,  but  more  particularly 
in  attending  our  legislature,  who  have  unintentionally  wronged  me 
out  of  nearly  40,000  acres  of  my  best  land  high  up  Penobscot  River. 
I  have  succeeded  with  one  branch,  but  could  not  quite  succeed  with 
the  other ;  but  I  shall  finish  the  affair  next  session.  I  shall  go  [to 
St.  George's]  in  five  days.  My  affairs  there  flourish,  but  want  my 
presence  there  for  the  summer.  I  cannot  express  how  delighted 
and  charmed  I  should  be  by  having  the  happiness  of  receiving  you 

Knox  entered  largely  into  brickmaking,  and  the  manu- 
facture of  lime  and  lumber,  and  also  carried  on  an  exten- 
sive mercantile  business  under  the  management  of  Captain 
Thomas  Vose,  a  gallant  officer  of  artillery,  at  first  as  clerk, 
and  afterward  as  partner.     These  and  other  varied  indus- 


tries  which  he  carried  on  brought  to  the  place  and  gave 
employment  to  large  numbers  of  mechanics  and  other  emi- 
grants, who  became  permanent  residents  of  Thomaston, 
and  who  stimulated  the  growth  of  the  town.  He  also 
attempted  to  introduce  improved  breeds  of  cattle  and 
sheep ;  and  as  early  as  1796  undertook  the  business  of 
ship-building,  and  several  coasters  were  launched  and  kept 
running  in  his  employ.  To  facilitate  his  lumber  opera- 
tions, Knox  purchased  the  right  to  improve  the  navigation 
of  George's  River,  and  completed  locks  of  sufficient  capac- 
ity for  the  passage  of  rafts  and  gondolas  at  the  several 
falls  in  Warren,  opening  the  navigation  of  the  river  as  far 
up  as  the  mills  in  Union.  His  plans  and  projects  of  im- 
provement were  more  suited  to  his  expansive  mind  than 
to  his  actual  resources,  he  being  for  the  most  part  of  the 
time  while  there  greatly  embarrassed  by  want  of  money ; 
and  they  consequently  resulted  more  advantageously  to 
others  than  to  himself.  These  pecuniary  troubles  culmi- 
nated in  1798,  and  caused  for  a  short  time  some  distress  to 
his  indorsers,  Generals  Lincoln  and  Jackson,  who  were,  how- 
ever, amply  secured  from  loss  by  assignments  of  valuable 
land.  A  few  extracts  from  his  later  letters  will  afford  some 
glimpses  of  passing  events,  and  of  his  domestic  life  and 
feelings.  Thus  to  his  friend  Jackson,  under  date  of  July 
9,  1795,  only  a  few  days  after  his  arrival  at  St.  George's, 
he  writes,  "  We  had  a  small  company  on  the  4th  of  July 
of  upwards  of  fixe  hundred  people  ! "  On  this  occasion 
a  general  invitation  had  been  given  to  the  people  of  the 
town  and  neighboring  settlements  to  inspect  the  General's 
mansion  and  partake  of  its  hospitalities.  Tables  were  set 
in  the  piazzas,  and  "  the  house  and  grounds  were  vocal 
with  music  and  conversation." 

To  Washington,  under  date  of  Boston,  15  January,  1797, 
he  writes :  — 


..."  The  loss  of  two  lovely  children  on  which  you  condole  in  your 
letter  has  been  recently  renewed  and  increased  by  the  death  of  our 
son  [Washington],  of  seven  years  old.  Unfortunate,  indeed,  have 
we  been  in  the  loss  of  eight  children,  requiring  the  exercise  of  our 
whole  stock  of  philosophy  and  religion. 

"  We  have  lately  come  from  St.  George's  to  pass  the  winter  in 
this  town.  Indeed,  this  is  our  general  plan :  we  may,  however,  as 
we  grow  older,  find  it  inconvenient.  We  are  distant  about  two 
hundred  miles  by  land,  which  we  may  easily  ride  in  six  days  when 
the  snow  is  on  the  ground  ;  or  with  wheels,  with  a  very  little  im- 
provement of  a  small  part  of  the  road.  I  am  beginning  to  experi- 
ence the  good  effects  of  my  residence  upon  my  lands.  I  may  truly 
say  that  it  is  more  than  doubled  in  its  value  since  I  determined  to 
make  it  my  home.  The  only  inconvenience  we  experience  is  the 
want  of  society  :  this  will  probably  lessen  daily.  Our  communica- 
tion by  water  to  this  town  is  constant  and  cheap.  We  can  obtain 
transportation  here  cheaper  than  the  same  article  can  be  carted  from 
my  store  to  the  vessel.  This  egotism  would  require  an  apology  to 
any  other  than  you." 

His  last  letter  to  Washington  is  elated  22d  December, 
1799,  eight  days  after  that  illustrious  man  had  breathed  his 
last : — 

"  I  am  here  [Thomaston],  and  should  be  more  happy  in  my 
pursuits  than  I  have  ever  been,  were  some  embarrassments  entirely 
dissipated.  But  this  will  require  time.  My  estate  with  indulgence 
is  competent,  and  greatly  more,  to  the  discharge  of  every  cent  I  owe. 
All  who  are  here  unite  with  me  in  presenting  to  Mrs.  Washington 
our  affectionate  remembrance.  I  may  not  wish  you  the  greatest 
blessing  by  wishing  you  a  long  life,  because  I  believe  that  while  you 
continue  here  you  are  detained  from  a  much  better  condition.  But 
I  pray  fervently  that  your  days  on  earth  may  be  days  of  felicity, 
without  clouds,  sickness,  or  sorrow." 


"Moxtpelier,  22  March,  1800. 
"  Returning  from  Boston  on  the  14th,  I  found  your  letter.     I  per- 
ceive no   cause  of  regret  at  the   departure  of  our  old  chief.     He 


exhibited  a  most  glorious  setting  sun  ;  and  the  people  of  the  United 
States  have  exhibited  human  nature  in  its  brilliant  attitudes  by  their 
gratitude.  His  death  and  the  testimonials  of  respect  will  be  an 
excellent  stimulus  to  future  patriotism.  .  .  . 

"  You  mention  that  your  spirits  are  not  good.  For  God's  sake 
bear  up  against  the  devil  of  Gloom.  Put  yourself  in  motion. 
Visit  even  me  if  you  can  find  nothing  better.  Get  Willich,  a  new 
author  on  diet  and  regimen ;  but,  above  all,  get  —  on  horseback. 

"  I  was  in  Boston  twelve  days.  My  affairs  progress  well.  I  shall 
have  bright  days  yet.  My  daughter  had  been  there  for  two  months. 
She  returned  with  me.  Mrs.  K.  and  Caroline  stayed  at  home, 
which  to  me  is,  after  all,  the  most  agreeable  place,  provided  I  had 
you  and  a  few  other  friends  near  me. 

"  Bonaparte,  what  a  glorious  fellow !  how  completely  he  has 
averted  the  monster  anarchy  and  mad  democracy  !  I  hope  in  God 
that  no  fanatic  will  assassinate  him,  which  is  to  be  dreaded." 

TO    MRS.    KNOX    AT    BOSTON. 

"  Moxtpelier,  20  Nov.  1801. 
"  Whether  your  not  getting  a  house  is  good  or  bad,  I  will  not 
determine.  With  my  habits,  a  lodging-house  will  be  execrable,  and 
yet  feelings  must  give  way  to  judgment.  In  either  case  we  must  be 
economists.  Although  our  prospects  will  be  greatly  brightened  by 
the  revolution  of  our  settlers,  yet  very  little  ready  money  at  present. 
Therefore  prenez  garde  as  to  expenses.  Although  the  throng  of 
our  visitors  have  passed,  yet  we  generally  have  eight  or  ten  per  day, 
and  commonly  from  five  to  ten  at  night.  Our  son  *  is  a  cause  of 
infinite  solicitude.  He  is  not  here,  nor  have  I  received  a  line  from 
him.  At  present  the  proposition  of  sending  him  to  the  East  Indies 
or  Canton  appears  like  giving  him  a  passport  to  eternity  or  to  in- 
finite misery." 

Upon  the  declaration  of  war  with  France,  in  1798,  under 
the  Presidency  of  John  Adams,  Washington,  who  was  ap- 

*  Henry  Jackson  Knox,  his  only  surviving  son,  was  a  midshipman  in  the 
navy  in  1798-1800.  He  was  nominated  as  a  lieutenant  by  President  Adams 
in  June,  1799,  but  was  not  confirmed  by  the  Senate. 

116  LIFE   OF   HENRY   KNOX. 

pointed  lieutenant-general,  named  as  his  seconds  Hamilton, 
C.  C.  Pinckney,  and  Knox,  in  the  order  mentioned.  The 
latter  was  greatly  mortified  at  being  placed  after  those 
who,  during  the  war,  had  been  his  juniors  in  rank,  and 
declined  to  serve.  He  wrote  to  Washington  a  remon- 
strance, which  the  latter  sent  to  Hamilton,  with  a  letter, 
delicately  intimating  a  disposition  favorable  to  Knox. 
Hamilton,  in  reply,  reluctantly  acquiesced  in  "  any  ar- 
rangement which  Washington  might  deem  for  the  general 
good ; "  and  at  a  later  period  endeavored,  in  a  letter  to 
Knox,  from  which  we  make  an  extract,  to  throw  the  re- 
sponsibility upon  others.  Warm-hearted  and  placable, 
Knox  cherished  no  animosity  against  him,  and  when  he 
heard  of  his  death  broke  out  into  violent  and  uncontrol- 
lable emotion. 


"  New  York,  March  14,  1799. 
"  My  judgment  tells  me  I  ought  to  be  silent  on  a  certain  subject, 
but  my  heart  advises  otherwise,  and  my  heart  has  always  been  the 
master  of  my  judgment.  Believe  me,  I  have  felt  much  pain  at  the 
idea  that  any  circumstance  personal  to  me  should  have  deprived 
the  public  of  your  services  or  occasioned  to  you  the  smallest  dis- 
satisfaction. Be  persuaded,  also,  that  the  views  of  others,  not  my 
own,  have  given  shape  to  what  has  taken  place,  and  that  there  has 
been  a  serious  struggle  between  my  respect  and  attachment  for  you 
and  the  impression  of  duty.  This  sounds,  I  know,  like  affectation, 
but  it  is  nevertheless  the  truth.  In  a  case  in  which  such  great 
public  interests  were  concerned,  it  seemed  to  me  the  dictate  of 
reason  and  propriety  not  to  exercise  an  opinion  of  my  own,  but  to 
leave  that  of  others  who  would  influence  the  issue  to  take  a  free 
course.  In  saying  this  much,  my  only  motive  is  to  preserve,  if  I 
may,  a  claim  on  your  friendly  disposition  towards  me,  and  to  give 
you  some  evidence  that  my  regard  for  you  is  unabated." 

Neither  the  absorbing  nature  of  his  private  affairs  nor 
the  pecuniary  and  other  obstacles  which  constantly  im- 


peeled  his  extensive  plans  for  the  improvement  and  set- 
tlement of  the  country  around  him,  could  prevent  his 
performance  of  those  public  duties  which  his  fellow-citi- 
zens from  time  to  time  imposed  upon  him.  We  find  him 
appointed,  April  6,  1796,  a  commissioner  for  the  United 
States  for  settling  the  Eastern  boundary  on  the  true  river 
St.  Croix ;  from  the  year  1801  a  member  of  the  General 
Court;  and  on  June  2,  1804,  he  was  appointed  one  of  the 
council  of  Governor  Strong,  by  whom  he  was  much  con- 
sulted in  important  affairs,  and  like  whom  he  was  inde- 
pendent and  firm  in  political  sentiment,  while  at  the  same 
time  conciliatory  and  tolerant. 

General  Knox  was  exceedingly  fond  of  the  society  of 
men  of  learning,  talent,  and  wit,  and  had  an  extensive 
correspondence  with  many  of  the  eminent  men  of  his  time 
both  in  Europe  and  America.  At  the  time  of  his  decease 
he  had  a  handsome  collection  of  not  less  than  1,585  vol- 
umes, 364  of  which  were  in  the  French  language.  Next 
to  that  of  Benjamin  Vaughan,  Esq.,  of  Hallo  well,  his  was 
the  largest  and  best  private  library  in  the  district  of  Maine. 
•  He  received  the  honorary  degree  of  Master  of  Arts,  from 
Dartmouth  College,  in  1793  ;  and  16  December,  1805,  was 
made  a  Fellow  of  the  American  Academy  of  Arts  and 

AVe  come  now  to  the  close  of  the  career  of  this  truly 
noble  and  estimable  man.  Had  he  been  permitted  to  at- 
tain the  usual  age  of  man,  which  his  vigorous  constitu- 
tion seemed  to  render  probable,  the  cloud  that  rested  upon 
the  latter  part  of  his  life  would  undoubtedly  have  been 
dispelled  ;  and  the  rise  in  the  value  of  his  property  would 
have  enabled  him  to  realize  all  his  anticipations,  and  to 
have  left  his  family  in  opulence.  It  was  otherwise  or- 
dained. A  sudden  and  unlooked-for  accident  cut  him  off 
in  the  midst  of  his  usefulness,  to  the  sincere  regret  of  all 



who  knew  him.  His  neighbors  mourned  his  loss  as  a 
public  benefactor ;  but  to  his  immediate  family  the  stroke 
was  unexpected  and  overwhelming. 

The  event  occurred  on  Saturday,  Oct.  25,  1806,  after 
an  illness  of  a  few  days.  It  was  occasioned  by  his  having 
swallowed  a  chicken  bone,  which  caused  a  mortification, 
and  was  from  its  nature  incurable.  He  was  entombed 
on  the  following  Tuesday  with  military  honors,  amid  the 
largest  concourse  of  citizens  ever  seen  in  that  vicinity,  and 
a  eulogy  was  pronounced  by  the  Hon.  Samuel  Thatcher. 
The  House  of  Representatives  of  Massachusetts,  on  Jan. 
10,  1807,  unanimously  passed  resolutions  of  respect  to  his 
memory,  which,  with  a  letter  of  condolence  from  the 
speaker,  Hon.  Perez  Morton,  was  sent  to  the  widow. 

Mrs.  Knox  died  June  20,  1824.  Out  of  twelve  chil- 
dren, nine  of  whom  died  in  childhood  or  infancy,  only 
three  survived  their  father :  Lucy  F.,  b.  1776,  d.  12  Oct. 
1854,  who  m.  Ebenezer  Thatcher  (H.  U.  1798)  ;  Henry 
Jackson,  b.  24  May,  1780,  d.  Thomaston,  Me.,  1830 ;  and 
Caroline,  who  m.,  1st,  James  Swan,  of  Dorchester;  2d, 
Hon.  John  Holmes,  of  Maine.  Both  the  latter  died  with- 
out issue.  The  surviving  children  of  Mrs.  Thatcher  are 
Admiral  Henry  Knox  Thatcher,  and  Caroline  F.,  widow 
of  Benjamin  Smith,  of  Newburg,  N.Y. 

The  personal  and  mental  characteristics  of  General  Knox 
are  thus  described  by  William  Sullivan  in  his  "  Familiar 
Letters: "  — 

"  He  was  a  large,  full  man,  above  middle  stature ;  his  lower  limbs 
inclined  a  very  little  outward,  so  that  in  walking  his  feet  were  nearly 
parallel.  His  hair  was  short  in  front,  standing  up,  and  powdered 
and  queued.  His  forehead  was  low ;  his  face,  large  and  full  below ; 
his  eyes,  rather  small,  gray,  and  brilliant.  The  expression  of  his 
face  altogether  was  a  very  fine  one. 

"  When  moving  along  the  street,  he  had  an  air  of  grandeur  and 


self-complacency,  but  it  wounded  no  man's  self-love.  lie  carried  a 
large  cane,  not  to  aid  his  steps,  but  usually  under  his  arm  ;  and 
sometimes,  when  he  happened  to  stop  and  engage  in  conversation 
with  his  accustomed  ardor,  his  cane  was  used  to  flourish  with,  in  aid 
of  his  eloquence.  He  was  usually  dressed  in  black.  In  the  summer, 
he  commonly  carried  his  light  silk  hat  in  his  hand  when  walking  in 
the  shade.  When  engaged  in  conversation,  he  used  to  unwind  and 
replace  the  black  silk  handkerchief  which  he  wore  wrapped  around 
his  mutilated  hand,  but  not  so  as  to  show  its  disfigurement. 

"  When  thinking,  he  looked  like  one  of  his  own  heavy  pieces, 
which  would  surely  do  execution  when  discharged ;  when  speaking, 
his  face  had  a  noble  expression,  and  was  capable  of  displaying  the 
most  benignant  feeling.  This  was  the  true  character  of  his  heart. 
His  voice  was  strong,  and  no  one  could  hear  it  without  feeling  that 
it  had  been  accustomed  to  command.  The  mind  of  Knox  was 
powerful,  rapid,  and  decisive,  and  he  could  employ  it  continuously 
and  effectively.  His  natural  propensity  was  highly  social,  and  no 
man  better  enjoyed  a  hearty  laugh. 

"  He  had  a  brilliant  imagination,  and  no  less  brilliant  modes  of 
expression.  His  conceptions  of  the  power  and  glory  of  the  Creator 
of  the  universe  were  of  an  exalted  character.  The  immortality  of 
the  soul  was  not  with  him  a  matter  of  induction,  but  a  sentiment  or 
fact,  no  more  to  be  questioned  than  his  own  earthly  existence.  He 
said  that  he  had  through  life  left  his  bed  at  the  dawn,  and  had  been 
always  a  cheerful,  happy  man." 

Says  Timelier  in  his  "  Military  Journal,"  in  speaking  of 
Knox :  — 

"  Long  will  he  be  remembered  as  the  ornament  of  every  circle 
in  which  he  moved,  as  the  amiable  and  enlightened  companion,  the 
generous  friend,  the  man  of  feeling  and  benevolence.  His  conver- 
sation was  animated  and  cheerful,  and  he  imparted  an  interest  to 
every  subject  that  he  touched.  In  his  gayest  moments  he  never 
lost  sight  of  dignity ;  he  invited  confidence,  but  repelled  familiarity. 
His  conceptions  were  lofty,  and  no  man  ever  possessed  the  power 
of  embodying  his  thoughts  in  more  vigorous  language :  when  ar- 
dently engaged,  they  were  peculiarly  bold  and  original,  and  you 
inevitably  felt  in  his  society  that  his  intellect  was  not  of  the  ordinary 


class ;  yet  no  man  was  more  unassuming,  none  more  delicately  alive 
to  the  feelings  of  others.  He  had  the  peculiar  talent  of  rendering 
all  who  were  with  him  happy  in  themselves,  and  no  one  ever  more 
feelingly  enjoyed  the  happiness  of  those  around  him.  His  feelings 
were  strong  and  exquisitely  tender.  In  the  domestic  circle  they 
shone  with  peculiar  lustre ;  and  if  at  any  time  a  cloud  overshadowed 
his  own  spirit,  he  strove  to  prevent  its  influence  from  extending  to 
those  that  were  dear  to  him.  He  was  frank,  generous,  and  sincere, 
and  in  his  intercourse  with  the  world  uniformly  just." 

"  The  conversation  of  General  Knox,"  says  another 
writer,  "  was  itself  a  feast.  He  was  affable  without 
familiarity,  dignified  without  parade,  imposing  without  ar- 

His  features  were  regular,  his  Grecian  nose  prominent, 
his  complexion  florid,  his  hair  naturally  dark,  and  his  eyes 
sharp  and  penetrating,  seldom  failing  to  recognize  a  coun- 
tenance they  had  once  rested  upon.  His  frame  was  well 
proportioned  and  muscular,  inclining  to  corpulency ;  and 
while  at  West  Point,  in  August,  1783,  he  weighed  280 

A  firm  believer  in  the  truths  of  Christianity,  and  a  lib- 
eral supporter  of  its  institutions,  he  regarded  the  future 
as  a  progressive  state  of  existence,  and  held  in  slight 
esteem  the  distinctions  of  creeds  and  sects;  "for,"  says 
Dr.  Thacher,  "  his  charity  was  as  diffusive  as  the  globe, 
and  extensive  as  the  family  of  man."  He  could  hear 
others  praised  without  envy,  and  delighted  to  enumerate 
the  good  qualities  of  men  in  public  life. 

His  public  spirit  was  displayed  by  encouraging  schools, 
locating  and  repairing  roads,  promoting  the  erection  of  a 
place  of  public  religious  worship,  and  by  exciting  an  at- 
tention to  agriculture  among  his  neighbors.  He  gave  the 
piece  of  land  which  is  now  the  principal  cemetery  in 
Thomaston ;  a  large  pulpit  Bible,  still  in  use  by  the  Con- 


gregational  Church  there ;  and  the  first  bell  that  ever 
called  together  the  worshippers  of  that  town,  and  which 
is  still  hanging  in  the  First  Baptist  Church. 

Of  his  numerous  private  charities  we  record  but  one. 
On  June  23,  1797,  he  drew  up  and  headed  with  fifty 
dollars  a  subscription  for  the  daughters  of  the  French  ad- 
miral, Count  de  Grasse,  who  had  been  driven  from  their 
estates  in  the  West  Indies,  and  who  were  then  in  Boston 
in  a  state  of  destitution.  It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that 
at  this  time  he  was  himself  in  great  distress  for  money. 

We  have  thus  sketched,  briefly  and  imperfectly  it  is 
true,  the  principal  events  and  the  leading  characteristics  in 
a  career  well  worthy  the  study  and  imitation  of  mankind. 
One  of  its  lessons  is  so  especially  applicable  to  our  own 
times,  that  we  commend  it  to  those  of  our  countrymen 
occupying  stations  of  public  trust.  It  is  found  in  the  letter 
to  his  brother  William  (ante,  p.  61),  in  which  he  says: 
"  You  know  my  sentiments  with  respect  to  making  any 
thing  out  of  the  public :  I  abominate  the  idea.  I  could  not 
[otherwise],  at  the  end  of  the  war,  mix  with  my  fellow- 
citizens  with  that  conscious  integrity,  the  felicity  of  which 
I  often  anticipate." 

Many  have  been  as  courageous  in  the  field,  many  as  wise 
and  patriotic  in  council,  but  few  have  united  to  these  the 
still  rarer  virtues,  a  spotless  integrity,  and  a  noble  out- 
spoken manliness  of  character,  in  a  higher  degree  than 
the  subject  of  this  brief  memoir. 




Capt.  James  Flucker,  of  London,  mariner,  m.  Elizabeth  Luist  at 
Charlestown,  Mass.,  30  May,  1717  ;  he  was  taxed  there  from  1727  to  1756, 
and  d.  3  Nov.  1756.     She  d.  Sept.  1770.     Their  children  were  — 

Rebecca,  bapt.  Charlestown,  9  Mar.  1718,  m.  22  July,  1742,  to  Rev. 
John  Fowle  of  Hingham. 

Thomas,  b.  Charlestown,  9  Oct.  1719. 

James,  b.  Charlestown,  23  Sept.  1721 ;  prob.  d.  between  1770  and 

Isaac,  b.  Charlestown,  25  Jan.  1724-25. 

Jane,  b.  CharlestoAvn,  25  Jan.  1724-25,  m.  9  May,  1758,  Dr.  Isaac 
Rand,  and  d.  23  Mar.  1805. 

Robert,  b.  Charlestown,  26  Dec.  1727,  d.  10  Oct.  1730. 

Elizabeth,  b.  Charlestown,  31  Dec.  1730,  m.  Jona.  Smith  of  Lex- 

Ann,  b.  and  d.  5  Jan.  1732. 

Thomas,  the  son,  last  Secretary  of  Massachusetts  Bay,  was  a  merchant 
in  Boston,  and  owned  an  estate  on  Summer  Street.  He  was  commis- 
sioned a  Justice  of  the  Peace,  14  Sept.  1756  ;  was  a  member  of  the  Coun- 
cil in  1761-68;  a  Selectman  of  Boston,  in  1766;  succeeded  Andrew 
Oliver  as  Secretary,  12  Nov.  1770 ;  was  made  a  Mandamus  Councillor, 
9  Aug.  1774;  left  Boston  for  Halifax  with  other  Tories  in  March,  1776  ; 
afterward  went  to  London,  where  he  Avas  a  member  of  the  "  Brompton 
Row  Tory  Club,"  —  or  association  of  Loyalists,  who  met  weekly  for  con- 
versation and  a  dinner,  —  and  died  there  16  Feb.  1783.  His  daughter 
Lucy  (Mrs.  Knox)  writes  to  her  husband  on  July  17,  1777:  "By  a 
letter  from  Mrs.  Tyng  to  Aunt  Waldo,  we  learn  that  papa  enjoys  his 
£300  a  year  as  Secretary  of  the  province.  Droll,  is  it  not?  "  In  1765, 
he  was  a  member  of  a  committee  of  the  Council  to  consider  and  report 
what  could  be  done  to  prevent  difficulties  in  the  proceedings  of  the  courts 
of  justice  ;  and,  in  1768,  he  assisted  in  drafting  an  address  of  that  body  to 
the  King. 

He  m.  1st,  12  June,  1744,  Judith,  dau.  of  Hon.  James  Bowdoin;  2d, 



14  Jan.  1751,  Hannah,  dau.  of  Gen.  Samuel  Waldo,  who  d.  Dec.  1785. 
They  had  — 

Thomas,  a  lieut.  in  the  British  army  (2d  bat.,  60th,  at  St.  Augustine, 
in  1777),  H.  U.  1773;  d.  1783. 

Hannah,  m.  2  Nov.  1774,  James  Urquhart,  captain  14th  reg. ;  from 
whom  she  was  divorced,  and  subsequently  m.  Horwood. 

Lucy,  b.  2  Aug.  1756  (Mrs.  Knox). 

Sally  Flucker,  who  performed  in  Burgoyne's  "  Maid  of  the  Oaks,"  in 
private  theatricals  given  by  the  British  officers  in  Boston,  was  a  natural 
daughter  of  Thomas.  She  accompanied  the  family  to  England  ;  m.  Mr. 
Jephson,  a  member  of  the  Irish  Parliament,  and  d.  early.  Copley  painted 
her  portrait. 


Prior  to  the  organization  of  this  company  by  Captain  David  Mason  in 
1763,  the  only  military  companies  in  Boston  were  "The  Ancient  and 
Honorable  Artillery  Company,11  the  first  regularly  organized  company  in 
America,  instituted  in  1638;  and  the  "Cadets,11  instituted  about  1754, 
called  also  the  "  Governor's  Guards,11  composed  of  the  elite  of  the  citi- 
zens, and  forming  the  escort  on  all  occasions  of  ceremony  or  commem- 
oration. The  "  Train,11  as  it  was  then  called,  was  attached  to  the  Boston 
regiment;  and  on  Captain  Masons  removal  to  New  Gloucester,  Me.,  its 
command  passed,  in  1768,  to  Lieut.  Adino  Paddock.  The  latter,  who 
was  a  chair-maker  on  Common  (now  Tremont)  Street,  opposite  the 
Granary,  was  a  "  complete  artilleryman,11  and  made  of  his  company  a 
celebrated  military  school,  which  furnished  many  excellent  officers  to 
the  Revolutionary  army.  It  was  composed  chiefly  of  mechanics,  was 
considered  equal  to  any  that  afterward  entered  the  service,  and  con- 
tinued to  a  recent  period,  being  latterly  known  as  the  "  South  End  " 
Artillery  Company. 

"  In  the  fall  of  1766  a  company  of  British  artillery,1'  says  Gen.  Henry 
Burbeck,  avIio  was  himself  a  member  of  Paddock's  company,  "  bound  to 
Quebec,  was  too  late  to  enter  the  river  St.  Lawrence,  and  put  into  Bos- 
ton, where  they  remained  in  the  barracks  at  Castle  William  until  the 
May  following.  From  them  Paddock's  company  derived  instruction  in 
the  knowledge  and  science  of  field  artillery.  Major  Paddock  bought  two 
light  brass  three-pounders.  My  father  (Col.  Wm.  Burbeck)  gave  a  plan 
or  draft  for  the  carriages,  and  supplied  the  company  with  every  thing, 
such  as  ammunition,  port-fires,  and  every  appointment  necessary  for  the 
field.  I  was  a  member  of  Paddock's  company  seven  years  before  the 

Paddock  attached  to  his  company  as  pioneers,  and  to  man  the  drag- 


ropes,  a  number  of  German  emigrants,  whose  uniform  consisted  in  part 
of  white  frocks  and  hair  caps,  and  who  wore  broadswords.  The  com- 
pany was,  for  the  purposes  of  manoeuvring,  divided  into  two  sections, 
each  taking  two  field-pieces,  and  upon  such  occasions  went  through  all 
the  evolutions  of  an  active  engagement. 

"  The  fourth  of  June,  1768,  being  the  king's  birthday,  was  celebrated 
with  much  spirit.  .  .  .  The  Governor's  Troop  of  Guards,  under  Col. 
Phipps  ;  the  regiment  of  the  town,  under  Col.  Jackson ;  with  the  train  of 
artillery,  under  Capt.  Paddock,  —  all  mustered  in  King  Street,  where  the 
troop  and  regiment  fired  three  rounds,  and  the  artillery  responded  with 
their  new  pieces."  *  These  pieces  were,  on  the  breaking  out  of  the  Revo- 
lutionary war,  kept  in  a  gun-house  at  the  corner  of  West  Street.  A 
school-house  was  the  next  building ;  and  a  yard,  enclosed  with  a  high 
fence,  was  common  to  both.  Paddock,  who  was  a  Tory,  had  expressed 
an  intention  of  surrendering  these  guns  to  Governor  Gage,  who  had 
begun  to  seize  the  military  stores  of  the  province  and  disarm  the  inhabi- 
tants. His  design  was  frustrated  by  a  few  patriotic  young  men,  among 
whom  were   Abraham  Holbrook,   the    school-master,    Nathaniel   Balch, 

Samuel  Gore,  Moses  Grant,  Jeremiah  Gridley,  and Whiston,  who, 

while  the  attention  of  the  sentinel  stationed  at  the  door  of  the  gun-house 
was  taken  off  by  roll-call,  crossed  the  yard,  entered  the  building,  and, 
removing  the  guns  from  their  carriages,  concealed  them  in  the  school- 
house,  whence  they  were  subsequently  conveyed  in  a  boat  to  the  Amer- 
ican lines.  The  guns  were  in  actual  service  during  the  whole  war;  and 
in  1788  General  Knox,  while  Secretary  of  War,  caused  a  suitable  inscrip- 
tion to  be  placed  upon  them.  They  were  named  the  "Hancock"  and 
"  Adams,"  and  are  now  suspended  in  the  chamber  at  the  top  of  Bunker 
Hill  Monument. 

The  Committee  of  Safety,  23  Feb.  1775,  voted  that  Dr.  Joseph 
Warren  ascertain  how  many  of  the  men  who  had  been  under  Paddock's 
command  could  "be  depended  on  to  form  an  artillery  company  when  the 
Constitutional  Army  of  the  Province  should  take  the  field,  and  that 
report  be  made  without  loss  of  time."  In  March,  1776,  Major  Paddock 
embarked  for  Halifax  with  the  Royal  Army ;  sailed  for  England  in  June  ; 
and  from  1781  until  his  decease,  25  March,  1804,  aged  seventy-six, 
resided  on  the  Isle  of  Jersey,  where  for  several  years  he  held  the  office 
of  Inspector  of  Artillery  Stores,  with  the  rank  of  Captain. 

The  following  list  of  members  of  Paddock's  company  is  quite  incom- 
plete. Those  starred  were  subsequently  officers  in  the  regiments  of 
Gridley,  Knox,  or  Crane,  in  the  Revolutionary  army  :  — 

*  Probably  the  brass  three-pounders  brought  from  London  in  the  brigantine 
"  Abigail,"  which  ai  rived  about  Feb.  1.  They  had  been  cast  for  the  town  from  two 
old  cannon  sent  over  by  the  General  Court  for  that  purpose.  Upon  them  were 
engraved  the  arms  of  the  Province.  —  Drake's  History  of  Boston. 



Adino  Paddock,  Capt.  with  rank  of  Major. 

Christopher  Clark, 

1st  Li( 


Thomas  Crafts, 

,,        , 

Jabez  Hatch, 

»>        > 

John  Sullen, 

George  Trott, 

Thomas  Bumstead, 

Samuel  Sellon, 

2d        , 

Edward  Tuckerman, 

3d       , 

*John  Crane, 

private.     Col. 

•Ebenezer  Stevens, 


Lieut. -col. 

♦John  Popkin, 

»  * 

■> » 

♦William  Perkins, 

1  » 


♦Henry  Burbeck, 



*John  Lillie, 

1  ) 

» « 

♦William  Gridley, 



♦William  Stevens, 



*John  Callender, 


» > 

♦David  Cook, 

>  > 


♦Thomas  Seward, 

5  » 


♦Joseph  Thomas, 



•Thomas  Jackson, 



*Thos.  Waite  Fostei 

1            ?  J 


♦Edward  Crafts, 

>  > 

> » 

♦Dimond  Morton, 

»  » 

,,          (brother  of  Hon.  Perez). 

♦John  Johnston, 



♦John  Gridley, 



♦Jotham  Horton, 

>  5 

> » 

♦David  Allen, 



♦Joseph  Loring, 



♦Samuel  Treat, 

»  » 

(killed  at  Fort  Mifflin) 

♦James  Hall, 

?  1 


♦David  Bryant, 


,,          (killed  at  Brandywine) 

♦John  Hiwill, 

*  > 


♦Thomas  J.  Carnes, 




You  are  immediately  to  examine  into  the  state  of  the  artillery  of  this 
army,  and  take  an  account  of  the  cannon,  mortars,  shells,  lead,  and  am- 
munition that  are  wanting ;  when  you  have  done  that,  you  are  to  pro- 
ceed in  the  most  expeditious  manner  to  New  York ;  there  apply  to  the 

AN  INVENTORY  OF  CANNON,  ETC.        129 

president  of  the  Provincial  Congress,  and  learn  of  him  whether  Col. 
Reed  did  any  thing,  or  left  any  orders  respecting  these  things,  and  get 
him  to  procure  such  of  them  as  can  possibly  be  had  there.  The  presi- 
dent, if  he  can,  will  have  them  immediately  sent  hither ;  if  he  cannot,  you 
must  put  them  in  a  proper  channel  for  being  transported  to  this  camp 
with  despatch  before  you  leave  New  York.  After  you  have  procured  as 
many  of  these  necessaries  as  you  can  there,  you  must  go  to  Major-Gen- 
eral  Schuyler  and  get  the  remainder  from  Ticonderoga,  Crown  Point,  or 
St.  John's ;  if  it  should  be  necessary,  from  Quebec,  if  in  our  hands. 
The  want  of  them  is  so  great,  that  no  trouble  or  expense  must  be  spared 
to  obtain  them.  I  have  wrote  to  General  Schuyler,  he  will  give  every 
necessary  assistance,  that  they  may  be  had  and  forwarded  to  this  place 
with  the  utmost  despatch.  I  have  given  you  a  warrant  to  the  Paymaster- 
General  of  the  Continental  Army,  for  a  thousand  dollars,  to  defray  the 
expense  attending  your  journey  and  procuring  these  articles,  an  account 
of  which  you  are  to  keep  and  render  upon  your  return. 

Given  under  my  hand  at  head-quarters  at  Cambridge  this  ICth  day 
of  November,  Annoque  Domini,  1775. 

G.  Washington. 

Endeavor  to  procure  ) 

what  flints  you  can.    S 






Ft.  &  ins. 

Dim.  of  bore. 

of  length. 


Total  w'ht. 

/    2  Cohorns 










1  mortar. 











V    8 

r  l 









3—  6 






3—  6 






3          (average) 



,    6 


(     1 






!     1 






2  (16) 




7  S 

Brass  1     \ 









Iron     > 

(6              6            do. 

4             9           do. 
10           12           do. 

L     3                    18  do. 






To.  can.,  43 





















total  weight,  119,900 

By  all  means  endeavor  that  the  heavy  cannon  and  mortars  go  off  first. 

Let  the  touch-holes  and  vents  of  all  the  mortars  and  cannon  be  turned 
downwards.  The  lead  and  flints  are  to  come  as  far  as  Albany,  which 
will  serve  to  make  up  a  load.  Observe  that  2  pairs  of  horses  be  [put]  to 
between  2  or  3  thousand  weight,  and  3  or  4  pair  for  the  4000  weight,  and 
4  span  for  those  of  5000  weight ;  but  Mr.  Schuyler  the  D.  Q.  G.  will 
see  more  particularly  to  this  affair.  The  one  span  will  take  above  1000 
weight.  They  are  to  receive  seven  £  per  ton  for  every  62  miles,  or  12s. 
per  day  for  each  span  of  horses.  Write  to  me  by  every  slay  the  quantity 
that  is  upon  that  slay.  When  a  number  of  slays  go  off  together,  one 
letter  will  serve  for  the  whole,  mentioning  the  cannon  that  each  have  par- 
ticularly, and  the  people's  names.  All  to  be  delivered  at  Springfield  or 

16    MARCH,    1776. 

Henry  Knox,  Col.,  com. 
William  Burbeck,  1st  Lieut.-col.     ,, 
David  Mason,          2d         ,,  ,, 

John  Crane,  1st  Major  ,, 

John  Lamb,  2d       ,,  ,, 

7  Nov 

.  1775. 

1  Jan. 


1     „ 


1     „ 

5  » 

1     „ 


Edward  Crafts. 
Thomas  Pierce. 
Thos.  Waite  Foster. 
Edward  Burbeck. 


William  Perkins. 
Dimond  Morton. 
Stephen  Badlam. 
Eliphalet  Newell. 

William  Dana. 
Ebenezer  Stevens. 
Jotham  Drury. 


Benj.  Eustis. 
Wni.  Tread  well. 
Benj.  Frothingham. 
Timothy  Stow. 


Jotham  Horton. 
Edward  Rumney. 
David  Allen. 
Winthrop  Sargent.', 

John  Johnston. 
Thomas  Seward. 
Asa  Rowson. 
Benajah  Carpenter. 

Thomas  Randall. 
David  Briant. 
Henry  Burbeck. 
Wm.  Stevens. 


Jona.  Welch  Edes. 
Samuel  Treat. 
John  Bryant. 

Isaac  Packard. 

David  Cook. 
John  Sluman. 

Thomas  Wells. 
John  Lillie. 
Joseph  Loring. 
Thos.  Vose. 
David  Preston. 
Thomas  Dean. 
Thomas  Jackson. 
James  Furnivall. 


Peter  King. 
Joseph  Savage. 
Joseph  Thomas. 
Samuel  Shaw. 
Daniel  Parker. 
Hardy  Peirce. 
Isaiah  Simmons. 
Oliver  Brown. 
John  Chandler. 

Thos.  Machin. 
Joseph  Blake. 
John  Bull. 
James  Steel. 
T.  J.  Carnes. 
Samuel  Doggett. 
Jeremiah  Freeman. 
Jeremiah  Kiles. 


KNOX    TO    HIS    WIFE. 

"New  York,  July  15,  1776. 
"  Lord  Howe  yesterday  sent  a  fiig  of  truce  up  to  the  city.     They 
came  within  about  four  miles  of  the  city,  and  were  met  by  some  of  Col. 
Tapper's   people,  who    detained    them    until  his    Excellency's    pleasure 
should  be  known.     Accordingly,  Col.  Reed  and  myself  went  down  in  the 
barge  to  receive  the  message.     Whan  we  came  to  them,  the  officer,  who 
was,  I  believe,  captain  of  the  Eagle  man-of-war,  rose  up  and  bowed, 
keeping  his  hat  off:   '  I  have  a  letter,  sir,  from  Lord  Howe  to  Mr.  Wash- 
ington."    *  Sir,'  says   Col.  Reed,   '  we  have  no  person  in  our  army  with 
that  address.'     •  Sir,'  says  the   officer,   '  will  you  look  at  the  address.' 
He  then  took  out  of  his  pocket  [a  letter]  which  was  thus  [addressed] 
"  '  George  Washington,  Esq., 
"  '  New  York. 
"  'Howe.' 

"  *  No  sir,'  says  Col.  Reed,   '  I  cannot  receive  that  letter.'     '  I  am  very 
sorry,'  says  the  officer,  '  and  so  will  be  Lord  Howe,  that  anv  error  in  the 


superscription  should  prevent  the  letter  being  received  by  General 
Washington.''  '  Why,  sir,'  says  Col.  Reed,  '  I  must  obey  orders.'  '  Oh, 
yes,  sir !  you  must  obey  orders,  to  be  sure.'  Then,  after  giving  him  a 
letter  from  Col.  Campbell  to  General  Howe,  and  some  other  letters  from 
prisoners  to  their  friends,  we  stood  off,  after  having  saluted  and  bowed 
to  each  other.  After  we  had  got  a  little  way,  the  officer  put  about  his 
barge  and  stood  for  us,  and  asked  by  what  particular  title  he  chose  to 
be  addressed.  Col.  Reed  said,  '  You  are  sensible,  sir,  of  the  rank  of 
General  Washington  in  our  army.''  '  Yes,  sir,  we  are.  I  am  sure  my 
Lord  Howe  will  lament  exceedingly  this  affair,  as  the  letter  is  quite  of  a 
civil  nature,  and  not  of  a  military  one.  He  laments  exceedingly  that  he 
was  not  here  a  little  sooner ; '  which  we  supposed  to  allude  to  the  decla- 
ration of  independence :  upon  which  we  bowed,  and  parted  in  the  most 
genteel  terms  imaginable." 

"July  22,  1776. 

"  On  Saturday  I  wrote  you  we  had  a  capital  flag  of  truce,  no  less  than 
the  adjutant-general  of  General  Howe's  army.  He  had  an  interview 
with  General  Washington  at  our  house.  The  purport  of  his  message 
was  in  very  elegant,  polite  strains,  to  endeavor  to  persuade  General 
Washington  to  receive  a  letter  directed  to  George  Washington,  Esq., 
&c,  &c.  In  the  course  of  his  talk  every  other  word  was,  '  May  it  please 
your  Excellency,  if  your  Excellency  so  please ; '  in  short,  no  person 
could  pay  more  respect  than  the  said  adjutant-general,  whose  name  is 
Col.  I'aterson,*  a  person  we  do  not  know.  He  said  the  &c,  &c.  im- 
plied every  thing.  '  It  does  so,'  said  the  General,  '  and  any  thing.'  He 
said  Lord  and  General  Howe  lamented  exceedingly  that  any  errors  in  the 
direction  should  interrupt  that  frequent  intercourse  between  the  two 
armies  which  might  be  necessary  in  the  course  of  the  service.  That  Lord 
Howe  had  come  out  with  great  powers.  The  General  said  he  had  heard 
that  Lord  Howe  had  come  out  with  very  great  powers  to  pardon,  but  he 
had  come  to  the  wrong  place :  the  Americans  had  not  offended,  therefore 
they  needed  no  pardon.  This  confused  him.  After  a  considerable  deal 
of  talk  about  the  good  disposition  of  Lord  and  General  Howe,  he  asked, 
'  lias  your  Excellency  no  particular  commands  with  which  you  would 
please  to  honor  me  to  Lord  and  General  Howe  ?  '  '  Nothing,  sir,  but 
my  particular  compliments  to  both  ; '  —  a  good  answer.  General  Wash- 
ington was  very  handsomely  dressed,   and   made  a   most   elegant  ap- 

*  James  Paterson  was  made  lieutenant-colonel  G3d  foot,  15  June,  1763;  colonel 
in  the  army,  20  Aug.  1777;  major-general,  10  Nov.  1782;  and  does  not  appear  in 
the  army  list  after  1787.  He  was  appointed  adjutant- general  in  America,  11  July, 
1776;  and  was  sent  home  with  despatches  after  the  battle  of  Monmouth. 


pearance.  Col.  Paterson  appeared  awe-struck,  as  if  he  was  before 
something  supernatural.  Indeed,  I  don't  wonder  at  it.  He  was  before 
a  very  great  man  indeed.  We  had  a  cold  collation  provided,  in  which  I 
lamented  most  exceedingly  the  absence  of  my  Lucy.  The  General's  ser- 
vants did  it  tolerably  well,  though  Mr.  adjutant-general  disappointed  us. 
As  it  grew  late,  he  even  excused  himself  from  drinking  one  glass  of  wine. 
He  said  Lord  Howe  and  General  Howe  would  wait  for  him,  as  they  were 
to  dine  on  board  the  Eagle  man-of-war :  he  took  his  leave  and  went  off." 

AND  BEFORE  THE  BATTLE  OF  AUG.  27,  1776. 


Major-Gen.  Putnam.  Stations. 

James  Clinton  (late  Heath's)  .     .  On  the  North  River  above 

The  Furnace. 

John  M.  Scott The  City. 

|  John  Fellows From  the  Glass  House  to 

L  Greenwich. 
Major-Gen.  Heath. 

Brio-adiers  ^  Th°S' Mifflin Mount  Washington. 

I  George  Clinton King's  Bridge. 

Major-Gen.  Spencer. 

"Samuel  H.  Parsons From  the  Ship  Yard  to 

Jones's  Hill,  including 
Brigadiers -{  a  redoubt  on  the  plain. 

James  Wadsworth On  the  East  River  in  the 

Major-Gen.  Sullivan. 

Brigadiers  \  Lord  StirlinS As  a  reserve   near  Bay- 

l  A.  McDougall ard's  Hill. 

Major-Gen.  Greene. 
Nixon    .... 
Heard ands. 

■>  John  Nixon Long;  and  Governor's  Isl- 



Each  brigade  to  be  furnished  with  two  good  guides.  Gen.  Stephen's 
brigade  to  form  the  advance  party,  and  to  have  with  them  a  detachment 
of  the  artillery  without  cannon,  provided  with  spikes  and  hammers  to 



spike  up  the  enemies'  cannon  in  case  of  necessity,  or  to  bring  them  off 
if  it  can  be  effected,  the  party  to  be  provided  with  drag-ropes  for  the 
purpose  of  dragging  off  the  cannon.  Gen.  Stephen  is  to  attack  and 
force  the  enemy's  guards  and  seize  such  posts  as  may  prevent  them  from 
forming  in  the  streets,  and  in  case  they  are  annoyed  from  the  houses 
to  set  them  on  fire.  The  brigades  of  Mercer  and  Lord  Stirling,  under 
the  command  of  Major-Gen.  Greene,  to  support  Gen.  Stephen.  This  is 
the  2d  division  or  left  wing  of  the  army,  and  to  march  by  the  way  of  the 
Pennington  road. 

St.  Clair's,  Glover's,  and  Sargent's  brigades,  under  Major-Gen.  Sulli- 
van, to  march  by  the  river  road.  This  is  the  first  division  of  the  army, 
and  to  form  the  right  wing.  Lord  Stirling's  brigade  to  form  the  reserve 
of  the  left  wing,  and  Gen.  St.  Clair's  brigade  the  reserve  of  the  right 
wing.  These  reserves  to  form  a  second  line  in  conjunction,  or  a  second 
line  to  each  division,  as  circumstances  may  require. 

Each  brigadier  to  make  the  colonels  acquainted  with  the  posts  of  their 
respective  regiments  in  the  brigade,  and  the  major-generals  will  inform 
them  of  the  posts  of  the  brigades  in  the  line. 

Four  pieces  of  artillery  to  march  at  the  head  of  each  column ;  three 
pieces  at  the  head  of  the  second  brigade  of  each  division;  and  two  pieces 
with  each  of  the  reserves.  The  troops  to  be  assembled  one  mile  back  of 
McKonkey's  Ferry,  and  as  soon  as  it  begins  to  grow  dark  the  troops  to 
be  marched  to  McKonkey's  Ferry,  and  embark  on  board  the  boats  in 
following  order  under  the  direction  of  Col.  Knox. 

Gen.  Stephen's  brigade,  with  the  detachment  of  artillerymen,  to  embark 
first;  Gen.  Mercer's  next;  Lord  Stirling's  next;  Gen.  Fermoy's  next, 
who  will  march  in  to  the  rear  of  the  second  division,  and  file  off  from  the 
Pennington  to  the  Princeton  road  in  such  direction  that  he  can  with  the 
greatest  ease  and  safety  secure  the  passes  between  Princeton  and  Tren- 
ton. The  guides  will  be  the  best  judges  of  this.  He  is  to  take  two 
pieces  of  artillery  with  him.  St.  Clair's,  Glover's,  and  Sargent's  brigades 
to  embark  in  order.  Immediately  upon  their  debarkation,  the  whole  to 
form  and  inarch  in  subdivisions  from  the  right.  The  commanding  officers 
of  regiments  to  observe  that  the  divisions  be  equal,  and  that  proper 
officers  be  appointed  to  each.  A  profound  silence  to  be  enjoined,  and 
no  man  to  quit  his  ranks  on  the  pain  of  death.  Each  brigadier  to  appoint 
flanking  parties ;  the  reserve  brigades  to  appoint  the  rear  guards  of  the 
columns ;  the  heads  of  the  columns  to  be  appointed  to  arrive  at  Trenton 
at  five  o'clock. 

Capt.  Washington  and  Capt.  T ,  with  a  party  of  forty  men  each, 

to  march  before  the  divisions  and  post  themselves  on  the  road  about 
three  miles  from  Trenton,  and  make  prisoners  of  all  going  in  or  coming 
out  of  town. 

Gen.  Stephen  will  appoint  a  guard  to  form  a  chain  of  sentries  round 


the  landing-place  at  a  sufficient  distance  from  the  river  to  permit  the 
troops  to  form,  this  guard  not  to  suffer  any  person  to  go  in  or  come  out, 
but  to  detain  all  persons  who  attempt  either.  This  guard  to  join  their 
brigade  when  the  troops  are  all  over. 


"Camp  Middlebrook,  1  July,  1777. 
"  Sir,  — From  the  information  I  have  received  I  am  induced  to  believe 
that  Congress  has  appointed  a  Mr.  Ducoudray,*  a  French  gentleman,  to 
the  command  of  the  artillery. 

"  I  wish  to  know  of  Congress  whether  this  information  be  true  :  if  it  is, 
I  beg  the  favor  of  a  permission  to  retire,  and  that  a  proper  certificate  for 
that  purpose  be  sent  me  immediately. 

**  I  am,  sir,  your  most  humble  servant, 

"  Henry  Knox." 
"Hon.  John  Hancock,  Esq." 

DEFENCES    OF   THE   DELAWARE,  9  AUG.  1777. 

It  is  the  opinion  of  the  subscriber  that  the  batteries  on  Fort  Island 
(Fort  Mifflin)  ought  to  have  an  additional  work  thrown  up  upon  its  left, 
and  garrisoned  with  12  pieces  heavy  cannon,  150  cannoneers,  half  as  many 
assistants,  with  500  infantry. 

Red  Bank  to  be  so  constructed  as  to  have  5  or  6  cannon  on  the  land 
side,  and  as  many  heavy  towards  the  river,  to  prevent  any  ships  coming 
up  the  channel  leading  to  it,  in  order  to  flank  the  galleys  which  may  be 
stationed  for  the  defence  of  the  cheveaux  defrise  near  the  fort. 

Billingsport  to  be  finished  as  at  present  contracted,  or,  if  possible, 
more  so,  so  as  to  hold  300  men,  exclusive  of  150  cannoneers  and  75 
assistants,  to  work  12  pieces  heavy  cannon,  which  ought  to  be  in  this  work. 
The  galleys  to  lie  opposite  to  it  at  the  head  of  the  low  island,  in  order 

*  This  talented  engineer  was,  on  11  Aug.  1777,  appointed  inspector-general,  rank 
of  major-general;  and  made  superintendent  of  the  works  on  the  Delaware.  While 
hastening  as  a  volunteer,  on  11  Sept.  1777,  to  the  battle  of  Brandywine,  his  horse, 
becoming  restive  while  on  board  a  ferry-boat  crossing  the  Schuylkill,  plunged  with 
him  into  tbe  river,  and  he  was  drowned. 


to  assist  the  fire  of  Billingsport.  These  galleys  would  be  for  this  purpose 
preferable  to  the  floating  batteries,  as  they  can  be  most  easily  moved  in 
case  of  an  accident  to  Billingsport. 

If  much  depends  on  the  fire-ships,  an  enclosed  battery  ought  to  be  con- 
structed on  some  advantageous  piece  of  ground  near  Derby's  Creek,  and 
something  higher  up  the  river  than  where  the  present  defective  battery 
is :  this,  in  order  to  prevent  any  of  the  enemy's  ships  mooring  at  the 
mouth  of  the  western  channel,  so  as  to  prevent  the  fire-ships  being  sent 
round  into  the  main  ship-channel ;  and  between  this  western  channel  is 
thought  to  be  most  commodious  for  the  free  operation  of  the  fire-ships, 
either  in  the  channel  leading  to  Billingsport  or  further  down  the  river. 
The  galleys  ought  also  to  lie  in  the  western  channel  if  their  retreat  is 
perfectly  secure,  as  the  commodore  (Hazlewood)  says,  as  well  in  order 
to  protect  the  fire-ships  as  to  annoy  any  of  the  enemy's  frigates  which 
may  be  opposed  to  Billingsport.  But  the  two  floating  batteries,  which 
from  their  unwieldiness  cannot  be  easily  moved,  together  with  the  frigates 
and  xebeks,  ought  to  lie  behind  the  second  row  of  cheveaux  de  frise  upon 
a  line  with  Fort  Island. 

If  there  should  be  time  enough,  a  strong  enclosed  work  ought  to  be 
thrown  up  on  Fort  Island  capable  of  containing  400  or  500  men,  and 
advantage  may  be  taken  of  part  of  the  stone  work  already  erected,  and 
which  in  its  present  state  would  be  infinitely  detrimental  to  any  body  of 
men  who  may  seek  shelter  from  it. 

These  sentiments  are  respectfully  submitted  by,  sir, 

Your  most  obedient,  humble  servant, 

Henry  Knox, 
His  Excellency  General  Washington.  Brigadier- Gen. 


In  Answer  to  Washington's  Queries,  givenm26  Nov.  1777. 

Sir,  —  I  exceedingly  lament  my  want  of  ability  and  experience  to  fill 
properly  the  important  station  in  which  I  am,  and  am  more  particularly 
distressed  when  such  important  questions  are  referred  to  my  decision  as 
those  which  your  Excellency  gave  us  in  charge  last  evening.  The  happi- 
ness or  misery  of  the  people  of  America  may  be  the  consequence  of  a 
right  or  erroneous  judgment. 

Much  has  lately  been  urged  concerning  the  reputation  of  our  arms, 
as  if  we  had  long  been  a  warlike  nation,  whose  existence,  like  the  ancient 
Romans,  depended  on  their  military  service.  I  confess  I  view  the  matter 
differently,  and  cannot  bring  myself  to  believe  (how  much  soever  I  may 


wish  it)  that  we  are  upon  a  par  in  military  knowledge  and  skill  with  our 
enemies.  Indeed  it  is  not  possible,  and  the  sensible  part  of  mankind 
will  know  it.    .   .   . 

The  gentlemen  who  urge  the  desperate  measure  of  attacking  the  ene- 
my's lines,  redoubts,  and  the  city  of  Philadelphia,  seem  to  forget  the  many 
principles  laid  down  by  people  experienced  in  the  art  of  war  against  our 
engaging  in  general  actions  upon  equal  terms  ;  against  our  risking  our  all 
on  the  event  of  single  battles.  In  the  beginning  of  the  contest  our  friends 
in  England  urged  the  impropriety  of  such  conduct,  giving  instances  of 
numbers  of  States  who  lost  their  liberties  by  means  of  them.  It  is  an 
invariable  principle  in  war  that  it  cannot  be  the  interest  at  the  same  time 
of  both  parties  to  engage.  It  is  also  another  fixed  principle  that  the 
invaders  of  a  country  ought  to  bring  the  defenders  of  it  to  action  as  soon 
as  possible.  But  I  believe  there  is  not  a  single  maxim  in  war  that  will 
justify  a  number  of  undisciplined  troops  attacking  an  equal  number  of 
disciplined  troops  strongly  posted  in  redoubts  and  having  a  strong  city 
in  their  rear,  such  as  Philadelphia. 

It  is  proposed  to  attack  the  enemy's  redoubts  without  being  perfectly 
acquainted  with  their  number,  strength,  or  situation,  with  troops  of  whom 
we  have  had  the  experience  of  two  capital  actions,  that  it  was  impossible 
to  rally  them  after  they  were  broken.  By  the  mode  of  attack  proposed 
we  are  to  stake  the  liberties  of  America  on  a  single  attempt  in  which  the 
probability  of  success  is  against  us,  and,  if  defeated,  of  sacrificing  the 
happiness  of  posterity  to  what  is  called  the  reputation  of  our  arms. 

It  has  been  agreed  that  the  enemy's  force  consists  of  10,000  rank  and 
file  fit  for  duty.  It  is  said  Lord  Cornwallis  has  taken  with  him  from  1500 
to  3000,  —  suppose  the  number  2500,  which  is  500  more  than  I  believe 
he  has,  there  remain  7500  rank  and  file  fit  for  duty.  Our  returns  are 
8000.  I  say  8000,  because  I  hold  the  militia  in  case  of  an  attack  of  this 
kind  useless  entirely,  for  we  know  they  will  not  stand  within  the  range 
of  a  cannon-ball.  We  are  to  attack  75U0  strongly  posted  in  redoubts, 
having  batteries  and  a  strong  city  in  their  rear.  In  this  instance  the  idea 
that  it  is  necessary  among  disciplined  troops  of  having  three  to  one  to 
storm  works  is  laid  aside,  not  because  our  troops  are  better  disciplined 
than  their  enemy's,  but  because  from  a  concurrence  of  circumstances  our 
affairs  are  in  a  desperate  situation,  and  we  must  retrieve  them  or  perish. 

Marshal  Saxe  says  redoubts  are  the  strongest  and  most  excellent  kind 
of  field  fortifications,  and  infinitely  preferable  to  extended  lines,  because 
each  redoubt  requires  a  separate  attack,  one  of  which  succeeding  does 
not  facilitate  the  reduction  of  the  others.  Charles  XII.,  with  the  best 
troops  in  the  world,  was  totally  ruined  in  the  attack  of  seven  redoubts  at 
Pultowa,  although  he  succeeded  in  taking  three  of  them. 

The  character  of  the  British  troops  in  Europe  is  far  above  mediocrity, 
and  the  experience  we  have  had  of  their  discipline  and  valor  proves  them 


by  no  means  contemptible.  In  the  commencement  of  this  war  they 
stormed  an  unfinished  work  on  Bunker's  Hill,  but  the  experience  gained 
there  has  entirely  prevented  them  from  making  any  similar  attempts. 
Indeed,  the  Germans  lately  made  an  attempt  on  Red  Bank,  the  event  of 
which  will  hardly  give  them  a  favorable  opinion  of  the  attack  of  redoubts 
by  storm. 

The  situation  of  the  American  army  on  Long  Island,  after  the  battle  of 
August  27th,  was  exceedingly  ineligible,  and  the  enemy  must  have  known 
it ;  but  they  did  not  attempt  to  carry  our  redoubts  by  storm,  although, 
had  they  succeeded  in  one  instance,  and  made  a  sufficient  opening  for 
the  introduction  of  a  large  column  of  troops,  the  greatest  part  of  our 
army  then  on  the  island  must  have  fallen  a  sacrifice,  or  have  been  taken 

From  the  experience  derived  from  reading  and  some  little  service  and 
the  knowledge  of  the  strength  of  the  enemy's  works,  my  opinion  is  clearly, 
pointedly,  and  positively  against  an  attack  on  the  enemy's  redoubts, 
because  I  am  fully  convinced  a  defeat  would  be  certain  and  inevitable. 

My  opinion  is  to  draw  our  whole  force  together,  take  post  at,  and 
fortify  Germantown,  considering  it  as  our  winter  quarters.  When  the 
works  there  are  in  a  tolerable  state  of  defence,  I  should  be  for  taking  our 
whole  force  (except  one  brigade  to  guard  the  works),  and  proceed  upon 
the  enemy's  line,  offering  them  battle,  which,  if  they  declined,  would  in 
the  opinion  of  every  rational  man  fully  evince  our  superiority  in  point 
of  strength.  If  they  should  come  out,  fight,  and  defeat  us,  we  have  a 
secure  retreat  and  winter  quarters. 

I  have  thus  offered  my  sentiments  to  your  Excellency  with  freedom ; 
but  if  a  contrary  disposition  should  take  place,  and  an  attack  be  resolved 
upon,  I  shall  endeavor  to  execute  the  part  that  may  be  assigned  me  to 
the  utmost  of  my  ability. 

I  am  with  the  most  profound  respect  your  Excellency's  most  obedient, 
humble  servant.  H.    Knox, 

Brig. -Gen.  Artillery. 
Artillery  Park,  Camp  Whitemarsh,  26th  Nov.  1777. 

His  Excellency  General  Washington. 

The  question  was,  whether  it  would  be  advisable  to  attack  the  enemy's 
redoubts  and  the  city  of  Philadelphia  by  way  of  storm;  to  throw  twelve 
hundred  troops  into  the  city  by  the  way  of  the  Delaware,  embarking 
them  in  boats  at  Dunx's  Ferry,  sixteen  miles  above  the  city. 




MoiiRiSTOWN,  16  April,  1780. 

Col.  John  Crane 1  Jan.    1777. 

Lieut.-Col.  John  Popkin  ...  15  July,  1777. 

Major,  William  Perkins  ...  12  Sept.  1778. 

Adjutant,  James  Gardner      .     .  1  Jan.    1777. 

Paymaster,  Charlks  Knowles  .  1  Jan.    1777. 

Quartermaster,  Samuel  Cooper  .  9  May,  1779. 

Surgeon,  Samuel  Adams    ...  14  May,  1778. 


William  Tread  well  1  Jan. 

Benj.  Frothingham  1  Jan. 

Winthrop  Sargent  1  Jan. 

Thomas  Seward  1  Jan. 

Nathaniel  Donnell  1  Jan. 

Henry  Burbeck    .  12  Sept. 

David  Cook     .     .  14  Mar. 

John  Sluman  .     .  12  Sept. 

John  Lillie       .     .  1  Nov. 

Thomas  Vose  .     .  2  Dee. 

Thomas  Jackson  .  22  Feb. 

Samuel  Shaw  .     .  12  Apr. 

1st  Lieut 8. 

Capt.  Lie ut s. 

William  Johnston 
Thomas  Barr    . 
John  Callender     . 
Isaiah  Bussey  .     . 
.John  Gridley  .     . 
John  Pierce 
John  George    .     . 
Constant  Freeman 
Jacob  Kemper 
James  Gardner    . 
Jacob  Goldthwair 
James  Hall     .     . 

1  Jan. 
1  Jan. 
1  Jan. 
1  Jan. 
1  Jan. 
12  Sept. 
1  Oct. 

1  Oct. 

2  Dec. 
22  Feb. 

G  Mar. 
12  Apr. 



Charles  Knowles  . 
Daniel  McLane  . 
William  Price 
Daniel  Jackson  . 
Samuel  Jefferds  . 
Florence  Crowley 
Abijah  Hammond 
Joseph  Driskill  . 
George  Ingersoll 
John  Hiwill  .  . 
Isaac  Barber  .  . 
Thomas  Bayley     . 

1  Aug. 
12  Sept. 
12  Sept. 
12  Sept. 


1  Oct. 

2  Dec. 
7  May, 

10  June, 
22  Feb. 
6  Mar. 
12  Apr. 


2d  Lieuts. 

William  Andrews 
David  Mason  . 
John  Liswell  . 
Joseph  Bliss 
Samuel  Cooper 
Samuel  Bass  . 
Benjamin  Eaton 
Elias  Parker  . 
Moses  Porter  . 
William  Moore 
Edward  Blake  .     , 

1  Feb. 
1  Feb. 
1  Feb. 
1  Feb. 
1  Feb. 
13  Sept 
1  Jan. 
9  Sept.  1778 
10  Sept.  1778 







2  12  pounders. 
4  3  pounders. 
6       6    pounders. 

3  b%  howitzers. 


These  with  implements  and  car- 
riages complete,  and  two  hundred 
rounds  to  each  piece,  with  the 
proper  quantity  of  small  stores. 


3     24  pounders.  2     8    inch  mortars. 

20     18  pounders.  3     8    inch  howitzers. 

10  10    inch  mortars. 
6     bh  inch  mortars. 
The  above  complete  with  carriages,  beds,  and  implements,  powder, 
shot,  and  shells,  sufficient  for  five  hundred  rounds  to  each  piece. 

II.  Knox. 
Park  of  Artillery,  24th  August,  1781. 
His  Excellency  General  Washington. 



One  battalion  of  the  Royal  Corps  of  Artillery,  D'Aboville,  Col.  ;  Nadal, 
Lieut. -Col. ;  25  officers,  631  men. 


Desandrouins.  Col.;  Gau,  Commissary;  and  ten  other  officers. 

Siege  Artillery. 

20   24  and  16  pounders. 
4   6  a'nd  8  in.  Howitzers. 
12   8  and  12  in.  Mortars. 

Field  Artillery. 
8    12  pounders. 
24   4  pounders. 
4   6  in.  Howitzers. 



[See  the  Farewell  Address,  Washington's  Writings,  vol.  viii.  p.  491.] 

"  All  the  officers  of  the  part  of  the  army  remaining  on  the  banks  of  the 
Hudson  have  received  your  Excellency's  Serious  and  Farewell  Address 
to  the  Armies  of  the  United  States.  We  beg  your  acceptance  of  our 
unfeigned  thanks  for  the  communication  and  your  affectionate  profes- 
sions of  inviolable  attachment  and  friendship.  If  your  attempts  to  insure 
them  the  just,  the  promised  rewards  of  their  long,  severe,  and  dangerous 
services  have  failed  of  success,  we  believe  it  has  arisen  from  causes  not 
in  your  Excellency's  power  to  control.  With  extreme  regret  do  we 
reflect  on  the  occasion  which  called  for  such  endeavors.  But,  while  we 
thank  your  Excellency  for  these  exertions  in  favor  of  the  troops  you 
have  so  successfully  commanded,  we  pray  it  may  be  believed  that  in 
this  sentiment  our  own  particular  interests  have  but  a  secondary  place; 
and  that  even  the  ultimate  ingratitude  of  the  people  (were  that  possible) 
would  not  shake  the  patriotism  of  those  who  suffer  by  it.  Still  with 
pleasing  wonder  and  with  grateful  joy  shall  we  contemplate  the  glorious 
conclusion  of  our  labors.  To  that  merit  in  the  Revolution  which,  under 
the  auspices  of  Heaven,  the  army  have  displayed,  posterity  will  do  jus- 
tice ;  and  the  sons  will  blush  whose  fathers  were  their  foes.  Most  gladly 
would  we  cast  a  veil  on  every  act  that  sullies  the  reputation  of  our 
country.  Never  should  the  page  of  history  be  stained  with  its  dishonor, 
even  from  our  memories  should  the  idea  be  erased.  We  lament  the  op- 
position to  those  salutary  measures  which  the  wisdom  of  the  Union  has 
planned,  —  measures  which  alone  can  recover  and  fix  on  a  permanent 
basis  the  credit  of  the  States,  —  measures  which  are  essential  to  the 
justice,  the  honor,  and  interest  of  the  nation.  While  she  was  giving  the 
noblest  proofs  of  magnanimity,  with  conscious  pride  we  saw  her  growing 
fame ;  and,  regardless  of  present  sufferings,  we  looked  forward  to  the 
end  of  our  toils  and  dangers,  to  brighter  scenes  in  prospect.  There  we 
beheld  the  Genius  of  our  country  dignified  by  sovereignty  and  independ- 
ence, supported  by  Justice,  and  adorned  with  every  liberal  virtue. 
There  we  saw  patient  Husbandry  fearless  extend  her  cultured  fields,  and 
animated  Commerce  spread  her  sails  to  every  wind  that  blows.  There 
we  beheld  fair  Science  lift  her  head,  with  all  the  arts  attending  in  her 
train.  There,  blest  with  Freedom,  we  saw  the  human  mind  expand  ;  and, 
throwing  aside  the  restraints  which  confined  us  to  the  narrow  bounds  of 
country,  it  embraced  the  World.  Such  were  our  fond  hopes  ;  and  with 
such  delightful  prospects  did  they  present  us.     Nor  are  we  disappointed. 



Those  animating  prospects  are  now  changed  and  changing  to  realities ; 
and  actively  to  have  contributed  to  their  production  is  our  pride,  our 
glory.  But  Justice  alone  can  give  them  stability.  In  that  Justice  we 
still  believe.  Still  we  hope  that  the  prejudices  of  the  misinformed  will 
be  removed,  and  the  arts  of  false  and  selfish  popularity,  addressed  to  the 
feelings  of  avarice,  defeated,  or,  in  the  worst  event,  the  world,  we  hope, 
will  mark  the  just  distinction.  We  trust  the  disingenuousness  of  a  few 
will  not  sully  the  reputation,  the  honor,  and  dignity  of  the  great  and  re- 
spectable majority  of  the  States. 

"  We  are  happy  in  the  opportunity  just  presented  of  congratulating 
your  Excellency  on  the  certain  conclusion  of  the  definitive  treaty  of 
Peace.  Relieved  at  length  from  long  suspense,  our  warmest  wish  is  to 
return  to  the  bosom  of  our  country,  to  resume  the  character  of  citizens ; 
and  it  will  be  our  highest  ambition  to  become  useful  ones. 

"To  your  Excellency,  this  great  event  must  be  peculiarly  pleasing ; 
for  while  at  the  head  of  her  armies,  urged  by  patriot  virtues  and  magna- 
nimity, you  steadily  persevered,  under  the  pressure  of  every  possible 
difficulty  and  discouragement,  in  the  pursuit  of  the  great  objects  of  the 
war,  —  the  freedom  and  safety  of  your  country,  —  your  heart  panted  for 
the  tranquil  enjoyments  of  peace.  We  cordially  rejoice  with  you  that 
the  period  of  indulging  them  has  arrived  so  soon.  In  contemplating  the 
blessings  of  liberty  and  independence,  the  rich  prize  of  eight  years1  hardy 
adventure,  past  sufferings  will  be  forgotten;  or,  if  remembered,  the  rec- 
ollection will  serve  to  heighten  the  relish  of  present  happiness.  We 
sincerely  pray  God  this  happiness  may  long  be  yours ;  and  that  when 
you  quit  the  stage  of  human  life  you  may  receive  from  the  Unerring 
Judge  the  rewards  of  valor  exerted  to  save  the  oppressed,  of  patriotism 
and  disinterested  virtue." 


City  of  New  York,  Dec.  18,  1783. 
State  of  New  York,  ss. 

In  Council,  &c,  &c. 

Resolved,  That  his  Excellency  the  Governor  be  requested  to  present 
the  thanks  of  this  Council  to  Major-General  Knox,  and  the  officers  and 
privates  of  the  detachment  under  his  command,  for  the  attention  they 
have  manifested  to  the  rights  of  the  citizens  of  this  State,  and  for  their 
aid  in  preserving  the  peace   and  good  order   of  the  Southern  District, 

LETTERS.  143 

since  the  evacuation  thereof  by  the  forces  of  his  Britannic  Majesty ;  to 
assure  them  of*  the  grateful  sense  this  Council  entertains  of  their  essen- 
tial services,  as  well  of  those  that  they,  as  a  part  of  the  American  army, 
have  rendered  to  the  inhabitants  of  this  State,  in  common  with  the  other 
citizens  of  America  during  the  late  long  and  arduous  contest. 

James  M.  Hughes,  Sec'y. 

The  above  was  transmitted  by  Governor  Clinton,  with  the  following 
note :  — 

"  Sir,  It  gives  me  great  pleasure  to  find  my  sentiments  of  the  services 
rendered  by  you  and  the  officers  and  men  under  your  command  to  the 
inhabitants  of  this  State,  expressed  by  the  Council ;  and  it  is  with  pecu- 
liar satisfaction  that  I  obey  their  order  in  communicating  the  enclosed 
resolution  to  you,  and  through  you  to  the  officers  and  privates  who  are 
also  objects  of  it." 



New  York,  14th  Dec.  1783. 

I  have  written  to  you,  my  dear  Marquis,  several  times,  expressing 
my  affection  for  you,  and  informing  you  how  dear  you  were  to  America  in 
general.  These  sentiments  you  must  not  regard  as  compliments,  but  the 
language  of  sincerity.  Our  independence  is  now  established,  and  we 
feel  the  warmest  gratitude  for  all  the  means  which  have  contributed  to 
effect  it. 

We  have  been  flattered  with  the  hope  of  your  visiting  us  again,  but  in 
this  we  have  not  yet  been  gratified  ;  but  in  pursuance  of  the  spirit  which 
accompanied  us  through  the  war  we  still  hope  on.  /The  English  have  at 
last  left  us  to  ourselves  with  the  full  expectation  that  we  shall  not  know 
how  to  govern  the  ship  of  state,  and  that  we  must  apply  to  the  steady 
and  experienced  pilots  of  Britain.  Time,  which  matures  all  things,  will 
explain  this  matter. 

Our  much  loved  friend,  the  General,  has  gone  from  this  city  to  Con- 
gress, and  from  thence  to  Mount  Vernon,  attended  with  the  entire  bless- 
ings of  his  country.  How  inexpressibly  rich  are  his  feelings  !  Conscious 
of  having  done  well  and  at  the  same  time  to  have  his  conduct  universally 
appreciated    is  a  rare  felicity. 

I  send  this  note  by  the  Chevalier  Villefranche,  who  is  going  with  Major 
Rochefontaine  to  France.  They  both  are  men  of  merit  and  deserve  the 
protection  of  all  good  men,  therefore  I  am  certain  of  their  receiving  your 

144  LETTERS. 


New  York,  25  July,  1787. 

My  dear  Makquis,  —  I  thank  you  for  your  highly  esteemed  favor  of 
the  5th  of  May.  The  information  is  truly  important  [Knox  here  refers 
to  the  meeting  of  the  assembly  of  notables] ,  and  convinces  me  that  the 
French  nobility  possess  the  true  spirit  of  justice  and  liberality.  Go  on  ! 
you  are  on  the  right  road,  but  remember  that  it  is  rough  and  full  of  dan- 
gers. Integrity,  intelligence,  and  perseverance  will  overcome,  but  you 
must  neither  sleep  nor  slumber  politically.  I  feel  so  extremely  interested, 
my  dear  Marquis,  for  your  happiness,  that  I  could  not  restrain  the  above 
caution :  you  will  attribute  it  solely  to  my  affection.  I  know  your 
sagacity,  and  I  also  know  your  zeal.  You  have  mighty  difficulties  to  com- 
bat: dissipate  them,  and  you  attain  the  summit  of  human  fame. 

Our  friend  General  Washington  is  anxiously  engaged  in  the  business 
of  reforming  the  political  machine.  The  Convention,  in  which  is  repre- 
sented every  State  excepting  Rhode  Island,  has  been  sitting  upwards  of 
two  months,  and  will  probably  continue  together  for  two  months  to  come. 
They  are  secret  in  their  councils,  conceiving  with  great  propriety  that  the 
people  ought  not  to  see  only  half  the  plan  at  a  time.  Whether  the  prop- 
ositions of  the  Convention  will  be  as  useful  as  the  occasion  may  require 
is  a  discovery  only  to  be  made  by  time.  But  from  the  characters  who 
compose  the  Convention  it  may  be  fairly  presumed  that  the  result  of  their 
deliberations  will  be  as  wise  as  could  be  expected  from  men  under  the  same 
circumstances.  Many  of  the  members  without  absorbing  all  the  talents 
of  the  community  are  certainly  men  of  the  first  abilities. 

General  Washington's  judgment  is  on  this  great  occasion,  as  it  always 
has  been,  the  effect  of  great  deliberation  and  reflection.  It  is  mature 
and  wise.  His  attendance  in  the  Convention  adds,  in  my  opinion,  new 
lustre  to  his  character.  Secure  as  he  was  in  his  fame,  he  has  again  com- 
mitted it  to  the  mercy  of  events.  Nothing  but  the  critical  situation  of 
his  country  would  have  induced  him  to  so  hazardous  a  conduct ;  but, 
when  its  happiness  is  being  endangered,  he  disregards  all  personal  con- 


Mount  Vernon,  28  Feb.  1785. 

I  thank  you  for  the  particular  account  which  you  have  given  me  of 

the  different  rivers  to  which  the  British  have  given  the  name  of  St.  Croix. 

I  shall  be  much  mistaken  if  they  do  not  in  other  matters  as  well  as  this 

give  us  a  good  deal  of  trouble  before  we  are  done  with  them,  and  yet  it 

LETTERS.  145 

does  not  appear  to  me  that  we  have  -wisdom  or  national  policy  enough  to 
avert  the  evils  which  are  impending.  How  should  we,  when  contracted 
ideas,  local  pursuits,  and  absurd  jealousies  are  continually  leading  us 
from  those  great  and  fundamental  principles  which  are  characteristic  of 
wise  and  powerful  nations,  and  without  which  we  are  no  more  than  a 
rope  of  sand  and  shall  as  easily  be  broken  ? 

In  the  course  of  your  literary  disputes  at  Boston  (on  the  one  side  to 
drink  tea  in  company  and  to  be  social  and  gay,  on  the  [other]  to  impose 
restraints  which  at  no  time  even  were  agreeable,  and  in  these  days  of 
more  liberty  and  indulgence  never  will  be  submitted  to) ,  I  perceived  and 
was  most  interested  by  something  which  was  said  respecting  the  compo- 
sition for  a  public  walk,  which  also  appears  to  be  one  of  the  exception- 
able things.  Now,  as  I  am  engaged  in  works  of  this  kind,  I  would  thank 
you  if  there  is  any  art  in  the  preparation  to  communicate  it  to  me, 
whether  designed  for  carriages  or  walking.  My  gardens  have  gravel 
walks  (as  you  possibly  may  recollect),  in  the  usual  style,  but  if  a  better 
composition  has  been  discovered  for  these  I  should  gladly  adopt  it.  The 
matter,  however,  which  I  wish  principally  to  be  informed  in  is  whether 
your  walks  are  designed  for  carriages,  and,  if  so,  how  they  are  prepared 
to  resist  the  pressure  of  the  wheels.  I  am  making  a  serpentine  road  to 
my  door,  and  have  doubts  (which  it  may  be  in  your  power  to  remove) 
whether  any  thing  short  of  solid  pavement  will  answer." 


Boston,  31st  Jan.  1785. 

Your  remarks  on  the  present  situation  of  our  country  are  indeed  too 
just.  The  different  States  have  not  only  different  views  of  the  same 
subject,  but  some  of  them  have  views  that  sooner  or  later  must  involve 
the  country  in  all  the  horrors  of  civil  war.  '  If  there  is  any  good  policy 
which  pervades  generally  our  public  measures,  it  is  too  mysterious  to  be 
comprehended  by  people  out  of  the  cabinet.  A  neglect  in  every  State 
of  those  principles  which  lead  to  union  and  national  greatness,  an 
adoption  of  local  in  preference  to  general  measures,  appear  to  actuate 
|  the  greater  part  of  the  State  politicians.  We  are  entirely  destitute  of 
tthose  traits  which  should  stamp  us  one  nation,  and  the  Constitution  of 
Congress  does  not  promise  any  capital  alteration  for  the  better.  Great 
measures  will  not  be  carried  in  Congress  so  much  by  the  propriety, 
utility,  and  necessity  of  the  thing,  but  as  a  matter  of  compromise  for 
something  else,  which  may  be  evil  itself,  or  have  a  tendency  to  evil.  This 
perhaps  is  not  so  much  the  fault  of  the  members  as  a  defect  of  the  con- 

146  LETTERS. 

federation.  Every  State  considers  its  representative  in  Congress  not  so 
much  the  legislator  of  the  whole  union  as  its  own  immediate  agent  or 
ambassador  to  negotiate,  and  to  endeavor  to  create  in  Congress  as  great 
an  influence  as  possible  to  favor  particular  views,  &c.  With  a  constitu- 
tion productive  of  such  dispositions,  is  it  possible  that  the  Americans  can 
ever  rival  the  Roman  name  ?  The  operation  of  opening  the  navigation 
of  the  rivers  so  as  to  communicate  with  the  Western  States  is  truly  noble  ; 
and,  if  successful,  of  which  I  hope  there  is  not  a  doubt,  it  must  be  fol- 
lowed by  the  most  extensively  beneficial  consequences,  which  will  increase 
in  exact  proportion  to  the  increase  of  the  population  of  the  country.  I 
am  pleased  that  you  interest  yourself  so  much  in  this  great  work.. 

You  are  so  good  as  to  ask  whether  General  Lincoln  and  myself  had  an 
agreeable  tour  to  the  eastward,  and  whether  the  State  societies  are  mak- 
ing moves  towards  obtaining  charters.  We  went  to  the  eastern  line  of 
this  State,  and  found  that  the  British  had  made  excessive  encroachments 
on  our  territories.  There  are  three  rivers  in  the  Bay  of  Passamaquoddy, 
to  which  the  British  have  within  twenty  years  past,  with  a  view  to  con- 
found the  business,  given  the  name  of  St.  Croix.  But  the  ancient  St. 
Croix  is  the  eastern  river.  The  British  have  settled  and  built  a  consid- 
erable town  called  St.  Andrews  on  the  middle  river,  which  has  always 
sustained  among  the  people  in  that  country  the  Indian  name  Schudac. 
The  proper  St.  Croix  and  the  Schudac  are  only  nine  miles  distant  at  their 
mouths.  They  run  into  the  country  about  sixty  miles,  and  they  diverge 
from  each  other  so  much,  that  although  at  their  mouths  they  are  only 
nine  miles  apart,  yet  at  their  sources  they  are  one  hundred  miles  distant 
from  each  other  ;  and  it  is  from  the  source  the  north  line  to  the  mountains 
is  to  begin.  The  mountains  are  distant  from  the  source  about  80  or  100 
miles ;  so  that  the  difference  to  this  State  is  100  miles  square  above  the 
heads  of  the  rivers  and  the  land  between  the  rivers,  which  must  be  GO  by 
50  miles  square.  Our  legislature  have  transmitted  the  report  we  made 
on  this  business  to  Congress  and  the  Governor  of  Nova  Scotia.  The 
matter  has  been  involved  designedly  by  the  British  in  such  a  manner  that 
it  can  now  be  settled  only  by  commissioners  mutually  appointed  for  that 
purpose.  I  have  seen  a  letter  from  Mr.  John  Adams,  dated  last  October, 
which  mentions  that  the  river  meant  by  the  treaty  of  peace  was  decidedly 
the  river  next  to  St.  John's  River  westward  ;  and  there  are  plenty  of  proofs 
that  the  ancient  St.  Croix  was  the  next  to  St.  John's.  I  have  been  par- 
ticular in  this  narration,  that  you  may  know  the  precise  state  of  this  affair, 
which  it  is  probable  will  sooner  or  later  occasion  much  conversation. 

As  to  the  Cincinnati,  the  objections  against  it  are  apparently  removed. 
But  I  believe  none  have  yet  applied  for  charters.  In  this  State  it  is  pretty 
evident  from  communicating  with  the  members  of  the  legislature  that  we 
should  not  succeed.  However,  we  shall  attempt  it  previous  to  our  next 
meeting  in  July. 

LETTERS.  147 

(Plan  for  a  General  Government.} 

New  York,  14th  Jan.  1787. 

.  .  .  Notwithstanding  the  contrary  opinions  respecting  the  proposed 
Convention,  were  I  to  presume  to  give  my  own  judgment  it  would  be  in 
favor  of  the  Convention,  and  I  sincerely  hope  that  it  may  be  generally 
attended.  ...  In  my  former  letters  I  mentioned  that  men  of  reflection 
and  principle  were  tired  of  the  imbecilities  of  the  present  government, 
but  I  did  not  point  out  any  substitute.  It  would  be  prudent  to  form  the 
plan  of  a  new  house  before  we  pull  down  the  old  one.  The  subject  has 
not  been  sufficiently  discussed  as  yet  in  public  to  decide  precisely  on  the 
form  of  the  edifice.  It  is  out  of  all  question  that  the  foundation  must 
be  of  republican  principles,  but  so  modified  and  wrought  together  that 
whatever  shall  be  erected  thereon  should  be  durable  and  efficient.  I  speak 
entirely  of  the  federal  government,  or,  which  would  be  better,  one  gov- 
ernment instead  of  an  association  of  governments.  Were  it  possible  to 
effect  a  general  government  of  this  kind,  it  might  be  constituted  of  an 
Assembly  or  Lower  House,  chosen  for  one,  two,  or  three  years ;  a  Senate, 
chosen  for  five,  six,  or  seven  years ;  and  the  Executive,  under  the  title 
of  Governor-General,  chosen  by  the  Assembly  and  Senate  for  the  term 
of  seven  years,  but  liable  to  an  impeachment  of  the  Lower  House  and 
triable  by  the  Senate ;  a  Judiciary,  to  be  appointed  by  the  Governor- 
General  during  gflod  behavior,  but  impeachable  by  the  Lower  House 
and  triable  by  the  Senate ;  the  laws  passed  by  the  general  government 
to  be  obeyed  by  the  local  governments,  and,  if  necessary,  to  be  enforced 
by  a  body  of  armed  men,  to  be  kept  for  the  purposes  which  should  be 
designated ;  all  national  objects  to  be  designed  and  executed  by  the 
general  government  without  any  reference  to  the  local  governments. 
This  rude  sketch  is  considered  as  the  government  of  the  least  possible 
powers  to  preserve  the  confederated  governments.  To  attempt  to  estab- 
lish less  will  be  to  hazard  the  existence  of  republicanism,  and  to  subject 
us  either  to  a  division  of  the  European  powers,  or  to  a  despotism  arising 
from  high-handed  commotions. 

I  have  thus,  my  dear  sir,  obeyed  what  seemed  to  be  your  desire,  and 
given  you  the  ideas  which  have  presented  themselves  from  reflection,  and 
the  opinion  of  others.  May  Heaven  direct  us  to  the  best  means  for  the 
dignity  and  happiness  of  the  United  States. 

New  Yokk,  19  March,  1787. 
As  you  have  thought  proper,  my  dear  sir,   to   request  my  opinion 
respecting  your  attendance  at  the  Convention,  I  shall  give  it  with  the 
utmost   sincerity  and   frankness. 

148  LETTERS. 

I  imagine  that  your  own  satisfaction  or  chagrin,  and  that  of  your 
friends,  will  depend  entirely  on  the  result  of  the  Convention.  For  I 
take  it  for  granted  that,  however  reluctantly  you  may  acquiesce,  that  you 
will  be  constrained  to  accept  of  the  president's  chair.  Hence  the  pro- 
ceedings of  the  Convention  will  more  immediately  be  appropriated  to 
you  than  to  any  other  person. 

Were  the  Convention  to  propose  only  amendments  and  patchwork  to 
the  present  defective  confederation,  your  reputation  would  in  a  degree 
suffer.  But,  were  an  energetic  and  judicious  system  to  be  proposed  with 
your  signature,  it  would  be  a  circumstance  highly  honorable  to  your  fame 
in  the  judgment  of  the  present  and  future  ages ;  and  doubly  entitle  you 
to  the  glorious  republican  epithet,  "  The  Father  of  your  Country." 

But,  the  men  generally  chosen  being  of  the  first  information,  great 
reliance  may  be  placed^  on  the  wisdom  and  vigor  of  their  councils  and 
judgments,  and  therefore  the  balance  of  my  opinion  preponderates  greatly 
in  favor  of  your  attendance. 

I  am  persuaded  that  your  name  has  had  already  great  influence  to 
induce  the  States  to  come  into  the  measure ;  that  your  attendance  will 
be  grateful  and  your  non-attendance  chagrining;  that  your  presence 
would  confer  on  the  assembly  a  national  complexion,  and  that  it  would 
more  than  any  other  circumstance  induce  a  compliance  to  the  proposi- 
tions of  the  Convention. 

I  have  never  written  to  you  concerning  your  intention  of  declining  to 
accept  again  the  presidency  of  the  Cincinnati.  I  can  only  say  that  the 
idea  afflicts  me  exceedingly. 

That  the  Society  Avas  formed  with  pure  motives  you  well  know.  In 
the  only  instance  in  which  it  has  had  the  least  political  operation  the 
effects  have  been  truly  noble.  I  mean  in  Massachusetts,  where  the 
officers  are  still  unpaid  and  extremely  depressed  in  their  private  circum- 
stances, but  notwithstanding  which  the  moment  the  government  was  in 
danger  they  unanimously  pledged  themselves  for  its  support,  while 
the  few  wretched  officers  who  were  against  government  were  not  of  the 
Cincinnati.  The  clamor  and  prejudice  which  existed  against  it  are  no 
more.  The  men  who  have  been  most  against  it  say  that  the  Society  is 
the  only  bar  to  lawless  ambition  and  dreadful  anarchy  to  which  the  im- 
becility of  government  renders  us  so  liable,  and  the  same  men  express 
their  apprehensions  of  your  resignation. 

Could  I  have  the  happiness  of  a  private  conversation  with  you,  I  think 
I  could  offer  you  such  reasons  as  to  induce  you  to  suspend  your  decision 
for  another  period  of  three  years.  Suffer  me  then,  my  dear  sir,  to 
entreat  that  you  would  come  to  Philadelphia  one  week  earlier  than  you 
would  in  order  t»  attend  the  Convention,  and  to  cheer  the  hearts  of  your 
old  military  friends  with  your  presence.    This  would  rivet  their  affections, 

LETTERS.  149 

and  entirely  remove  your  embarrassment  in  this  respect  of  attending  the 

God,  Who  knows  my  heart,  knows  that  I  would  not  solicit  this  step, 
were  I  of  opinion  that  your  reputation  would  suffer  the  least  injury  by  it. 
I  fully  believe  that  it  would  not.  But  I  believe  that  should  you  attend 
the  Convention,  and  not  meet  the  Cincinnati,  that  it  would  sorely  wound 
your  sincere  friends,  and  please  those  who  dare  not  avow  themselves 
your  enemies. 

9  April,  1787. 

.  .  .  It  is  the  general  wish  that  you  should  attend.  It  is  conceived  to  be 
highly  important  to  the  success  of  the  propositions  of  the  Convention. 
The  mass  of  the  people  feel  the  inconveniences  of  the  present  govern- 
ment, and  ardently  wish  for  such  alterations  as  would  remedy  them.  The 
Convention  appears  the  only  means  to  elfect  the  alterations  peaceably. 
If  that  should  be  unattended  by  a  proper  weight  of  wisdom  and  character, 
so  as  to  carry  into  execution  its  propositions,  we  are  to  look  to  events 
and  force  for  a  remedy.  Were  you  not  then  to  attend  the  Convention, 
slander  and  malice  might  suggest  that  force  would  be  the  most  agreeable 
mode  of  recourse  to  you.  When  civil  commotion  rages,  no  purity  of 
character  and  services,  however  exalted,  can  entirely  shield  from  the 
shafts  of  calumny. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  unbounded  confidence  the  people  have  in  your 
tried  patriotism  and  wisdom  would  exceedingly  facilitate  the  adoption  of 
any  important  alterations  that  might  be  proposed  by  a  Convention  of 
which  you  were  a  member,  and,  as  I  before  hinted,  President. 

...  I  have  a  letter  from  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette  of  the  7th  of  Feb- 
ruary. He  looks  forward  to  military  employment  in  this  country  for  the 
reduction  of  the  western  posts  and  Canada.  But  one  might  venture  to 
predict  that  no  such  operations  will  be  undertaken  until  the  government 
shall  be  radically  amended  :  at  present  we  are  all  imbecility. 

14th  Aug.  1787. 

.  .  .  Although  I  frankly  confess  that  the  existence  of  the  state  govern- 
ments is  an  insuperable  evil  in  a  national  point  of  view,  yet  I  do  not  well 
see  how  in  this  stage  of  the  business  they  could  be  annihilated ;  and  per- 
haps, while  they  continue,  the  frame  of  government  could  not  with  pro- 
priety be  much  higher  toned  than  the  one  proposed.  It  is  so  infinitely 
preferable  to  the  present  constitution,  and  gives  such  a  bias  to  a  proper 
line  of  conduct  in  future,  that  I  think  all  men  anxious  for  a  national  gov- 
ernment should  zealously  embracs  it. 

The  education,  genius,  and  habits  of  men  on  this  continent  are  so 


150  LETTERS. 

various,  and  of  consequence  their  views  of  the  same  subject  so  different, 
that  I  am  satisfied  with  the  result  of  the  Convention,  although  it  is  short 
)of  my  wishes  and  of  my  judgment.  But  when  I  find  men  of  the  purest 
intentions  concur  in  embracing  a  system  which,  on  the  highest  delibera- 
tion, seems  to  be  the  best  which  can  be  obtained  under  present  circum- 
stances, I  am  convinced  of  the  propriety  of  its  being  strenuously  supported 
by  all  those  who  have  wished  for  a  national  republic  of  higher  and  more 
durable  powers. 

3d  Oct.  1787. 

.  .  .  Every  point  of  view  in  which  I  have  been  able  to  place  the  subject 
induces  me  to  believe  that  the  moment  in  which  the  Convention  assembled 
and  the  result  thereof  are  to  be  estimated  among  those  fortunate  circum- 
stances in  the  affairs  of  men  which  give  a  decided  influence  to  the  happi- 
ness of  society  for  a  long  period  of  time.  Hitherto  every  thing  promises 
well.  The  new  constitution  is  received  with  great  joy  by  all  the  commer- 
cial part  of  the  community.  The  people  of  Boston  are  in  raptures  with 
it  as  it  is,  but  would  have  liked  it  still  better  had  it  been  higher  toned. 

I  trust  in  God  that  the  foundation  of  a  good  national  government  is 
laid.  A  way  is  opened  to  such  alterations  and  amendments  from  time  to 
time  as  shall  be  judged  necessary ;  and  the  government,  being  subjected 
to  a  revision  by  the  people,  will  not  be  so  liable  to  abuse.  The  first 
legislature  ought  to  be  the  ablest  and  most  disinterested  men  of  the  com- 
munity. Every  well-founded  objection  which  shall  be  stated  in  the  course 
of  the  discussions  on  the  subject  should  be  fairly  considered,  and  such 
fundamental  laws  enacted  as  would  tend  to  obviate  them. 

New  Yokk,  10th  Feb.  1788. 

.  .  .  The  constitution  has  labored  in  Massachusetts  exceedingly  more 
than  was  expected.  The  opposition  has  not  arisen  from  a  consideration 
of  the  merits  or  demerits  of  the  thing  itself  as  a  political  machine,  but 
from  a  deadly  principle  levelled  at  the  existence  of  all  government  what- 
ever. The  principle  of  insurgency  expanded,  deriving  fresh  strength  and 
life  from  the  impunity  with  which  the  rebellion  of  last  year  was  suffered 
to  escape.  It  is  a  singular  circumstance  that  in  Massachusetts  the  prop- 
erty, the  ability,  and  the  virtue  of  the  State  are  almost  solely  in  favor  of 
the  constitution.  Opposed  to  it  are  the  late  insurgents  and  all  those  who 
abetted  their  designs,  constituting  four-fifths  of  the  opposition.  A  few, 
very  few  indeed,  well-meaning  people  are  joined  to  them.  The  friends 
of  the  constitution  in  that  State,  without  overrating  their  own  importance, 
conceived  that  the  decision  of  Massachusetts  would  most  probably  settle 
the  fate  of  the  proposition.     They  therefore  proceeded  most  cautiously, 


and  wisely  debated  every  objection  with  the  most  guarded  good  nature 
and  candor,  but  took  no  questions  on  the  several  paragraphs,  and  thereby 
prevented  the  establishment  of  parties.  This  conduct  has  been  attended 
with  the  most  beneficial  consequences.  It  is  now  no  secret  that,  on  the 
opening  of  the  Convention,  a  majority  were  prejudiced  against  it. 

TURES   IN    NEW  YORK,    1785,    1786,    AND    1787. 

{Knox,  Mrs.  Knox,  his  brother  William,  four  or  Jive  children,  two 
female  servants,  one  girl  without  wages,  and  two  German  boys, 
indented  servants.) 

Daily  food,  averaged  at  20s.  York  currency,  per  day  .     .     .  £365 

House-rent  and  taxes,  including  £20  rent  of  stable       .     .     .  215 

Keeping  2  horses,  4s.  per  day ^3 

Repairs  of  carriage  and  harness,  and  shoeing  horses  ...  15 

AVine 100 

2-1  extra  dinners  annually,  £5  each 120 

Servants,  2  women  at  $8  per  month 38     8s. 

2  men  at  the  same  (for  clothing  ind.  servants)  .     .  38     8s. 

Clothing  for  self  and  family 100 

Schooling  for  my  children C^ 

Furniture &0 

Contingencies,  including  charities,  subscriptions,  &c.  ...  80 

Firewood °0 

£1,314  16s. 
Salarv CJ80 

£334  li 
27  Amr.  1787. 


{Ex',  act  from  a  Letter  to  Hon.  Charles  S.  Dxveis,  3  Nov.  1845.) 

"  I  first  became  acquainted  with  him  when  I  was  nine  years  old.  He 
then  kept  the  '  London  Bookstore  '  in  (now)  Washington  Street,  where 
Brewer  &  Co.  now  keep  a  large  druggist  establishment.*  .  .  .  The  oppo- 
sition of  her  (Miss  Flucker's)  family  to  the  connection  was  no  secret  in 

*  No.  02  Washington  Street,  where  the  "  Globe  "  newspaper  is  now  published. 


Boston.  I  learnt  it  in  my  mother's  family  circle,  which  moved  in  the 
same  clique  with  the  Fluckers  at  times. 

"  From  1801  to  the  end  of  his  life,  my  acquaintance  with  him  was  upon 
the  most  intimate  and  cordial  footing.  .  .  .  We  were  together  in  the 
legislature  of  Massachusetts.  He  did  not  possess  the  talent  of  debate, 
but  was  unaffectedly  diffident  of  his  oratorical  powers.  He  was  never- 
theless a  fluent  and  effective  speaker.  He  had  the  gift  of  natural 
eloquence ;  his  imagination  was  ardent,  and  his  style  sublimated  perhaps 
to  a  fault.  He  often  inscribed  his  notes  upon  the  backs  of  cards  ;  a  few 
of  which  he  held  in  his  lame  hand,  and  shuffled  them  over  as  if  sorting 
them  for  a  game  of  whist ;  and  no  man  commanded  more  attention  and 
respect  than  were  willingly  yielded  by  his  auditors  as  a  homage  to  his 
unquestioned  sincerity,  magnanimitv,  and  grandeur  of  soul.  But  it  was 
in  familiar  conversation  with  friends,  and  in  the  social,  commercial,  and 
polished  circles  of  society  that  he  figured  to  the  best  advantage. 

"As  Knox's  matrimonial  connection  was  a  love-match,  and  both  par- 
ties possessed  great  good  sense  and  were  proud  of  each  other,  it  was 
understood  by  their  friends  that  their  mutual  attachment  had  never 
waned.  It  was,  however,  well  known  that  they  frequently  differed  in 
opinion  upon  the  current  trifles  of  the  day,  and  that  the  tree  amantium, 
though  always  followed  by  the  integratio  amoris,  were  not  unfrequent ; 
and  that  in  those  pt  tty  skirmishes  our  friend  showed  his  generalship  by 
a  skilful  retreat.  On  one  occasion,  at  a  very  large  dinner-party  at  their 
own  house,  the  cloth  having  been  removed,  the  General  ordered  the 
servants  to  take  away  also  the  woollen  cover,  which  madam  with  an 
audible  voice  prohibited.  He  then  instantly,  addressing  the  whole  circle, 
observed:  'This  subject  of  the  under  cloth  is  the  only  one  on  which 
Mrs.  Knox  and  I  have  differed  since  our  marriage.1  The  archness  and 
good  humor  of  this  appeal  to  the  company  were  irresistible,  and  pro- 
duced, as  was  intended,  a  general  merriment." 


Mr.  Parton,  in  his  paper  upon  Washington's  cabinet  in  the  "  Atlantic 
Monthly  "  for  Jan.  1873,  does  great  injustice  to  the  abilities  of  Knox. 

He  asserts  that  Knox  was  acquainted  with  only  one  subject  (war)  ; 
that  he  was  not  a  man  of  capacious  or  inquisitive  mind ;  that  he  was  one 
who  must  take  his  opinions  from  another  mind  or  not  have  any  opinions  ; 
that  he  was  in  the  cabinet  of  Washington  "  the  giant  shadow  of  his 
diminutive  friend  Hamilton  ;  "  and  that  his  original  remedy  lor  the  ills  of 
the  Confederacy  was  to  extinguish  the  State  governments  and  establish 
an  imposing  general  government  with  plenty  of  soldiers  to  enforce  its 


The  question  naturally  arises,  How  came  such  a  man  in  Washington's 
cabinet?  Did  Washington  read  men  so  badly  that  after  a  fourteen  years' 
intimacy  in  camp  and  council,  having  had  frequent  occasion  to  test  his 
capacity  not  only  as  a  soldier,  but  as  a  diplomatist  in  conferences  with  the 
French  generals  and  admirals  ;  with  Carleton  the  British  commander ;  in 
allaying  the  discontents  of  the  army  and  in  disbanding  it ;  and  not  only 
that,  but  having  witnessed  his  career  as  War  Secretary  for  lour  years 
preceding  his  presidency, — that  after  all  this  experience  he  could  have 
been  so  egregiously  deceived  ?  How  came  he  to  retain  him  in  a  position 
for  which,  according  to  Mr.  Parton,  he  was  so  signally  unfit? 

This  problem  admits,  after  all,  of  a  simple  explanation.  It  is  found 
in  the  hostility  of  Mr.  Jefferson  to  Knox,  arising  solely  from  political 
antagonism,  and  which  Mr.  Parton  seems  to  have  fully  imbibed.  This 
bias  may  still  further  be  accounted  for  by  a  habit  into  which  Mr.  Parton 
has,  perhaps  unconsciously,  fallen,  of  magnifying  and  overestimating  his 
heroes,  and  by  way  of  contrast  of  belittleing  and  depreciating  the  char- 
acter and  abilities  of  their  political  rivals  or  opponents.  The  fact  that 
such  an  erroneous  judgment  could  have  been  made  shows  conclusively 
the  existence  of  a  want  which  we  have  endeavored,  in  the  present  vol- 
ume, in  some  slight  degree  to  supply. 

The  letters  and  papers  of  General  Knox  render  it  evident  that  he  was 
well  informed  not  only  upon  military  matters,  but  that  upon  such  subjects 
as  politics,  finance,  and  government,  his  opinions  were  sought  and 
valued  by  many  of  the  best  minds  of  the  time.  If  Mr.  Parton  is  right, 
then  Ruins  King,  Judge  Marshall,  Governor  Strong,  Alexander  Hamil- 
ton, and  Washington  were  all  wrong.  As  an  illustration  of  the  capacity 
and  originality  of  Knox,  we  commend  to  Mr.  Parton's  examination  his 
plan  for  a  general  government  (ante,  page  5.09).  Many  persons  who 
read  this  paper  for  the  first  time  will  be  surprised  to  learn  that  practically 
the  leading  outlines  of  this  plan  are  embodied  in  our  system  of  govern- 
ment;  and  they  may  also  suspect  that  in  those  particulars  wherein  it 
varies  from  the  present  form,  as  in  the  length  of  the  presidential  term 
(seven  years)  and  the  choice  of  president  by  Congress,  rather  than  by 
the  present  perverted  electoral  college  system,  this  narrow-minded  man 
of  one  idea  saw  nearly  a  century  ago  what  we  are  now  just  beginning  to 

That  Hamilton  and  Knox,  the  two  Federalists  in  the  cabinet,  should  gen- 
erally agree,  is  not  at  all  strange;  nor  is  it  strange  that  such  agreement 
should  occur  with  respect  to  measures  to  which  Jefferson  and  his  anti-federal 
colleague,  Randolph,  were  hostile.  That  they  did  not  always  agree  was 
evident  upon  the  question  whether  the  French  Convention  was  a  legiti- 
mate body,  and  upon  the  more  vital  subject  of  the  establishment  of  a 
navy,  upon  both  of  which  questions  Knox  carried  his  point  against  Ham- 
ilton's opposition.     It  is  most  certainly  true  that  Knox,  in  common  with 


the  great  majority  of  the  thinking  men  of  the  time,  saw  and  depreeated 
the  weakness  and  imbecility  of  the  Confederation,  and  earnestly  desired 
a  government  which  could  make  itself  respected  at  home  and  abroad, 
and  which  could  develop  the  resources  of  the  country,  and  promote 
national  unity.  To  this  end  he  labored  assiduously  ;  and  his  letters,  which 
are  replete  with  sound  and  practical  views  upon  these  great  questions, 
furnish  a  sufficient  refutation  of  such  ill-considered  judgments  as  those 
we  have  pointed  out. 

I  N  D  E  X 

I  N  I)  E  X 

Adams,  John 19,  20 

Adams,  Samuel 97 

Albany  in  1775 25 

Alliance,  French 60 

Andre,  Major  John 23,  62 

Army 28,  30,  35,  42,  55,  64,  76,  83 

Army,  Disposition  of  in  August,  1776 133 

Army,  order  of  march  to  Trenton 133 

Arnold,  Gen.  Benedict 56,  60,  62 

Artillery,  21,  24,  28,  29,  35,  37,  38,  41,  47,  56,  59,  63,  72,  73,  106,  126, 129,  140 

Artillery,  Arrangement  of 130,  139 

Assanpink,  Cannonade  at 38 

Barlow,  Joel 99 

Bcaumetz,  Count  de 112 

Bingham,  Hon.  William 112 

Boston  Massacre 11 

Boston  Military  Companies 126 

Boston  Port  Bill  . 14 

Boston,  Siege  of 17-26 

Bowes,  Nicholas 10 

Brandy  wine,  Battle  of 48 

Burbeck,  Gen.  Henry 12,  15,  126 

Burbeck,  Lieut-Col.  William 21,  26,  126 

Burr,  Col.  Aaron 30 

Campbell,  Robert  and  Mary 9 

Carleton,  Sir  Guy 81-83 

Chastellux,  Marquis  de 63,  67,  69,  72,  73 

Cincinnati  Society 80,  102,  148 

Clinton,  Gov.  George 84,  133 

Cobb,  Gen.  David 114 

Convention,  Federal 94-98,  144-150 

Convention,  Massachusetts 97,  98,  150 

Cornwallis,  Marquis 69,  70 

Crane,  Col.  John 21,  32,  139 

Cutler,  Dr.  Manasseh 101,  102 

Dairy mple,  Gen.  William 74 

Deuxponts,  Counts 67 

Ducoudray,  Gen.  P.  C.  J.  B.  Tronson 42,  43,  135 

Duportail,  Gen.  Louis  Lebegue 65,  69 

Elliot,  Andrew,  Esq 74 

Erskine,  Gen.  Sir  William 53 

Fiucker  family 26,  125 

Flucker,  Hon.  Thomas 16,  26,  12-") 

Fort  Washington,  Capture  of 33 

158  INDEX. 

Gage,  Gov.  Thomas 15,  17,  19 

Gamble  (Campbell?),  Major 25 

Germantovvn,  Battle  of 52 

Glover,  Gen.  John 134 

Gordon,  Dr.  William 49 

Grasse,  Count  de ■ 68,  69,  71,  121 

Greene,  Gen.  Nathaniel     .     .  33,  35,  41,  47,  49,  55,  56,  67,  68,  73,  90,  133,  134 

Greene,  George  W 90,  99 

Gridley,  Col.  Richard 21 

Hamilton,  Alexander 116 

Hancock,  John 98 

Harlem,  Battle  of .       32 

Heath,  Madame 41 

Henchman,  Daniel 10 

Hendricks,  Lieut.-Col.  J 49 

Higginson,  Stephen 93,  95 

Holmes,  Hon.  John ' 118 

Hopkins,  Admiral  Esek 27 

Howe,  Admiral  Lord 29,  59,  131 

Howe,  Gen.  Robert 67 

Howe,  Gen.  Sir  William 26,  30,  31,  43 

Humphries,  David 107 

Indian  affairs 105 

Jackson,  Gen.  Henry 43,  51,  58,  68,  107,  108,  113 

Kalb,  Baron  de 55 

King,  Rufus 90,  98 

Knight,  Admiral  John 19 

Knox  family 9,  118 

Knox,  Caroline 118 

Knox,  Henry  :  ancestry,  8 ;  bookseller's  apprentice,  10  ;  opens  the  New 
London  bookstore,  12  ;  it  is  pillaged,  14 ;  its  location,  151 ;  an  officer 
of  grenadiers,  14;  portraits  of,  15  ;  courtship  and  marriage,  15-17; 
joins  the  army,  17 ;  volunteer  aid  to  Gen.  Ward  at  Bunker's  Hill, 
17  ;  serves  as  an  engineer,  17  ;  constructs  Roxbury  Fort,  18;  made 
colonel  of  artillery,  21, 130  ;  brings  ordnance  from  Ticonderoga,  22  ; 
encounters  Andre,  23  ;  fortifies  Newport,  26  ;  inspects  New  London 
harbor,  27  ;  escapes  from  New  York  city,  30 ;  superintends  the 
passage  of  the  Delaware,  35  ;  made  brigadier  general  and  com- 
mander of  the  artillery,  37 ;  recommends  Springfield  for  a  labora- 
tory, 41 ;  plans  defences  of  the  North  River,  41 ;  writes  to  the 
President  of  Congress  respecting  Gen.  Ducoudray,  43,  135  ;  Wash- 
ington's opinion  of,  43 ;  sent  to  provide  for  the  security  of  Red  Bank, 
55;  opposes  attack  on  Philadelphia,  55;  privateering  speculations, 
61  ;  visits  Rochambeau  at  Hartford,  62;  one  of  the  triers  of  Major 
Andre',  62  ;  mission  to  the  Eastern  States,  64  ;  conference  with  Roch- 
ambeau, 65;  with  De  Grasse,  69  ;  complimented  and  recommended 
for  promotion  for  services  at  Yorktown,  72 ;  Chastellux's  enco- 
miums of,  72-73  ;  congratulations  of  Greene,  73 ;  commissioner  for 
exchange  of  prisoners,  74 ;  promoted  to  major-general,  74;  com- 
mands at  West  Point,  75;  petitions  Congress  in  behalf  of  the 
armv,  and  active  in  allaying  its  discontent,  76;  founds  the  Cincin- 

INDEX.  159 

rati,  80;  commands  the  army  until  disbanded,  81 ;  takes  possession 
of  New  York,  83 ;  thanked  by  the  Governor  and  Council  of  New 
York,  84,  142 ;  quits  the  army,  and  removes  to  Dorchester,  87 ; 
commissioner  to  Penobscot  Indians,  87;  secretary  of  war,  88;  plan 
for  a  militia,  103;  treats  with  the  Creek  Nation,  105  ;  strictures  on, 
106, 152  ;  establishes  the  navy,  108  ;  retires  from  office,  109 ;  settles 
in  Thomaston,  110;  business  affairs,  112-13;  declines  appointment 
of  brigadier-general,  116;  public  duties  and  literary  honors,  117; 
death  and  character,  118-121 ;  interview  with  Howe's  adjutant-gen- 
eral, 131 ;  report  on  defences  of  the  Delaware,  135 ;  opinion  on 
storming  Philadelphia,  136 ;  address  to  Washington,  141 ;  plan  of 
a  general  government,  147  ;  annual  expenses  in  New  York,  151. 

Knox,  Mrs 16,10,28,41,56,63,65,69,101,111,118 

Knox,  Henry  Jackson 115,  118 

Knox,  Lucy  (Mrs.  Thatcher) 111,118 

Knox,  William 9,  22,  51,  101 

La  Layette 69,  71,  87,  88,  143,  149 

Lee,  Gen.  Charles 18,  57,  58 

Leslie,  Capt.  William 39 

Liancourt,  Duke  de 111,112 

Lincoln,  Gen.  Benjamin 62,  87,  95,  103,  113 

Long  Island,  Battle  of 29 

Longman,  Thomas 13,  14 

Louis  Phillipe 112 

McClure,  Rev.  David 100 

McDougall,  Gen.  Alexander 33,  67,  76,  80,  133 

McGillivray,  Gen.  Alexander 105 

Mason,  Col.  David 21,  27,  126 

Mauduit,  Duplessis 56 

Maxwell,  Gen.  William 48 

Mercer,  Gen.  Hugh 34,  39,  134 

Militia,  Plan  for 103,  104 

Miranda,  Don  Francisco  de 104 

Monmouth,  Battle  of 56-59 

Morehead,  Rev.  John 8 

Morris,  Gouverneur 74 

Muscongus  patent 110 

Nash,  Gen.  Francis 49,  53 

Navy,  Establishment  of 108 

New  York  in  1775 24 

New  York,  evacuated  by  the  British  army 81-83 

Newport  fortified 26 

Nixon,  Gen.  John 133 

Officers,  Want  of 31 

( )glethorpe,  Gen.  James  E 101 

Otis,  Hon.  Harrison  Gray 12,  16,  151 

Paddock's  Artillery  Company 21,  126 

Parsons,  Gen.  Samuel  H 29,  133 

Parton,  James 152 

Paterson,  Col.  James 132 

160  INDEX. 

Peale,  Charles  Wilson      . 15 

Peiree,  Capt.  Joseph 14 

Philadelphia,  Campaign  against 43-57 

Pierce,  Capt.  Thomas 35 

Pope's  Night  in  Boston 11 

Prescott,  Gen.  Richard 25 

Princeton,  Battle  of 39 

Putnam,  Gen.  Israel 29,  34,  133 

Ramsay,  Col.  Nathaniel 57 

Randall,  Capt.  Thomas 53 

Reed,  Col.  Joseph 131 

Rivington,  James 12 

Rochambeau,  Count  de 62,  65,  67,  69 

Sargent,  Col.  Paul  Dudley 134 

Sargent,  Winthrop 21,  131 

Savage,  Edward 15 

Schuyler,  Gen.  Philip 22,  24,  25 

Shaw,  Major  Samuel 68,  106 

Shays's  Rebellion 90-95 

Shepard,  Gen.  William 90 

Smallwood,  Gen.  William 50 

Smith,  Mrs.  Caroline  F 118 

Smith,  Mrs.  William  S 102 

Spotswood,  Col.  Alexander 49 

St.  Clair,  Gen.  Arthur 55,  134 

Stephen,  Gen.  Adam 48,  133 

Stevens,  Col.  Ebenezer 21 

Stevens,  Gen.  Edward 49 

Stewart,  Col.  Walter 49 

Stirling,  Lord 29,  48,  67,  134 

Stuart,  Gilbert 15 

Sullivan,  Gen.  John 29,  44,  48,  134 

Swan,  James 118 

Talleyrand,  visits  Knox 112 

Thatcher,  Ebenezer 118 

Thatcher,  Admiral  H.  K 118 

Thatcher,  Hon.  Samuel 118 

Ticonderoga  expedition 22-25,  128 

Trenton,  Battle  of 36,  133 

Trescott,  Major  Lemuel 15 

Valley  Forge,  Privations  of 55 

Viomenil,  Baron  de ' 67,  71 

Vose,  Capt.  Thomas 112 

Waldo  patent 110 

Ward,  Gen.  Artemas 17,  41,  52 

Washington,  George    .     .     18,34,35,57,65,83,101,110,114,141,143,145 

Wayne,  Gen.  Anthony 49,  105 

Weedon,  Gen.  George 49 

West,  Benjamin 15 

Wharton  and  Bowes 10 

White  Plains-,  Battle  of 33 

Yorktown  Campaign 68-73,  140 

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